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Weaknesses are our Strengths

June 12, 2016

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Take a seat. I want to tell you something that may come as a shock to you. Are you ready?

Our weaknesses and our strengths are the same thing! I know what you are thinking. How can that be? When it comes to character qualities they are two sides of the same coin. The qualities within ourselves that we often view as the worst ones to have are the very same qualities that when nurtured and refined become our leading strengths. I want to give you a couple of examples to illustrate this point.

A few years ago I was sitting in a class and the teacher was introducing this concept of our weaknesses and strengths actually being the same thing. She invited us to take out a piece of paper and have two columns,  on one side we were to  write our “weakness” and then on the other side of that label we were to write out 5 strengths that could develop from that “weakness” or unfavorable quality. We were to write the first word that came to mind. I wrote “bossy”.

Now let me tell you a little bit about this thorn in my side, I mean, bossyness. When I was in kindergarten my mom went to parent teacher conference to learn all about how her wonderful daughter was doing in school. The teacher tells her I’m doing great academically but that she is a little concerned about my lack of friends. She and mom discuss and mom come homes and talks to me and a conversation ensues where mom tells me that perhaps a reason I’m having trouble making friends is because I am a bit bossy. I, with all the seriousness I possess, replied “I’m not too bossy, they just don’t do what I tell them too.”

So for the next 25 (yes 25) years, every time I heard the word bossy I cringed. I had very little boundaries and had a hard time making decisions around other people because of this one word. I was paranoid and paralyzed by fear. And whenever this bossiness leaked out, like a stuffed sausage, I would hide in shame and replay everything that transpired like a bad record. Needless to say, bossy and I did not have a healthy relationship.  Here I am sitting in class…. it felt like now or never., either I conquer this word once and for all or crumble.

On the left I wrote “bossy” and on the right I wrote “leader”, “teacher”, “one who knows what they want”, “someone who can empower others”, “helpful advice giver”, “forthright”, “confident” … do you see where I am going here? All of the sudden this skill that I thought was such an awful no good, very bad thing all of the sudden became this amazing quality that I couldn’t wait to grab onto. I could see that this was a beautiful gift to have. I could see that this gift paired with my public speaking ability could enable me to help other people, I could see that this gift could enable me to guide and direct a large family, I could see that this gift drew people to me…. my weakness could become my strength.

Just by one simple exercise I was able to open the energy to move into my strength. All I had to do was open my consciousness just a little to see what this really was. Our weakness are our strengths.

slingshot

Second example. Often times we take our weaknesses and we dislike them so much that we wish to cast them off, get rid of them, throw them as far away from our body as we possibly can and never see or mention them again. Right?

When we do that it’s like taking a rock, a big, heavy, ugly, rough rock, attaching a rubber-band to it and throwing it as far from us as we can. Now what do you think is going to happen when you throw that rock? Yep, you got it. That rock is going to come flying back to you and hit you harder than ever. (Can you see how sometimes those weaknesses have caused more pain than they ‘should’ have?)… so now think of it this way. What would happen if you took that rock, that’s jagged and rough, and put it in a rock tumbler? Have you seen a rock tumbler? It’s loud and slow and mixed with water and other smaller rocks, but do you know what it does? It refines that rock. It smooths it and turns it into a beautiful sparkly stone.

rocks

When we can view our weaknesses as if they are rocks that could use a little smoothing around the edges then we can allow the lessons in life to refine our weakness and develop into our strengths. My bossiness didn’t go away in day. I didn’t instantly have new friends or become a fearless leader, but what I did have was opportunities to refine my skills. Opportunities to learn how others are empowered (hint hint it’s not through telling them what to do.) and opportunities to practice and learn friend-shipping skills.

As you go through life and you recognize weakness that you have and a desire to change; approach your weakness with a little love and understanding. Be patient with yourself and recognize as you see these changes taking place.  Often the people who are quick to anger possess the greatest capacity to love, the person who feels a bit too judgemental may hold the greatest capacity for empathy and the person who is the shyest may have the fullest capacity to understand the feelings of others.

Be kind to yourself. Take 5 minutes a do this simple exercise. Write your weakness and then 5 strengths that can develop. Then sit back and watch how you naturally and almost effortlessly begin to move into the energy of that strength and that weakness is transformed into a beautiful precious stone.

weak strong ether


One Response to “Weaknesses are our Strengths”

  1. Shell Neese says:

    Thank you so much Courtney. This was inspiring and completely makes sense. It has opened my eyes and heart to a better way of thinking.

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