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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Believe in Yourself--Delight in Your Weaknesses; Learn from Mistakes; and Leave Your Critics at the Door

I am what I am--Creative and Messy

'To make mistakes is human; to stumble is commonplace; to be able to laugh at yourself is maturity.'    William Arthur Ward

Do you ever catch a glimpse of the truth of yourself as you go about your day? I do—and it always puts a smile on my face.

I am a person fraught with weaknesses that make other people shudder. My weaknesses are of the large variety that others love to point out to me--just in case I miss them.

One of my more notable weaknesses is my messiness. It's always been a great conversation piece among friends and family.

I have the unique ability to storm a room in a fit of creativity, creating a whirlwind of activity that leaves an untidy mess in its wake.  Some refer to my messiness as a force of nature while others just call it wrong. Me? I call it the creative process.

My inclination towards messiness arises out of a natural preference for organizing in piles, not files. I'm a girl who likes to have all her resources laid out before her when she works. As soon as I put it all away--neatly stored in files--my creativity disappears. I have to see it to be inspired--and for me it's all about the inspiration!

A Sheep in Form-Fitting Wolf Attire

Sure, over the years I've learned to put up false fronts and outfit this sheep in form-fitting wolf attire for the comfort of others. I've learned to live comfortably and calmly in the world of others expectations—but it's not my preferred way of being. So retreating into my inner world is where I go to be free of judgment.

The Extrovert's Wondrous Inner World 
'Even the knowledge of my own fallibility cannot keep me from making mistakes. Only when I fall do I get up again.'   Vincent Van Gogh

Although I am an extrovert who loves interacting in the outer world—the truth is--I relish retreating into my own world where I can fully appreciate my own company--unencumbered by the critical eyes of others.

In my own private world I fully accept, roll in, embellish and enjoy the person that I am. I answer to no one--leaving judgment on my person to dwell outside while I move into my fully-loaded free-flowing and uninhibited self. In that private moment I am incorrigible—and I love it. 

Delight in Your Weaknesses 

Like me, you probably have weaknesses you try to hide to maintain a better image in the world. But don't be so fast to put those weaknesses down--learn to delight in them instead.

Our so-called weaknesses have an upside to them--they are in fact the flip-side of our strengths. 

Your weaknesses can more effectively be viewed as strengths overused.  (I.e. Your  strengths only show up as weaknesses when overused--too much of a good thing.)

By learning to revel in and appreciate your weaknesses instead of being ashamed of them--you'll quickly discover the key to becoming your best self is to learn to exercise control over your strengths, not hide your weaknesses. 

'It's a whole lot easier to gently pull back on doing something you do well than it is to attempt to rid yourself of something you see as bad.'

Exercise Control over your Strengths 

My son, Sean--an extrovert--has a great sense of humor that used to get him in trouble when he was in middle school. He would talk too much and joke around during class--and ultimately annoy his teachers who would note these weaknesses on his report card.

Back in middle school, I told Sean his lesson was to learn how to exercise control over his fabulous strengths--his gregarious and fun-loving nature--so he could wield them appropriately. By  practicing  control over his assets as he matured, he became more effective.

The upside of being able to engage others with a great sense of humor is these are personal assets that--when managed properly--can help you go far in life. As an adult, Sean has put those strengths to use in his work as a project manager. 

Before you can change or improve upon yourself, you must accept and love the person you are now--warts and all. Change begins with a belief in yourself--and that means learning to leave your critics at the door while you enjoy your so-called weaknesses. 

If and when you are ready to balance your nature, practice exercising control over your strengths by gently pulling back on what you do well instead of attempting to get rid of something you view as bad.

When You're Being Run Out of Town, Get in Front and Make it Look Like a Parade

 'When you're being run out of town, get in front and make it look like a parade' has been my life mantra (always thought it was PT Barnum quote...but not sure).It gets at the heart of 'embrace your weaknesses and showcase them as strengths'. Stop hiding yourself--put it out there for all to see.

Don't be too quick to accept other's judgments on your imperfections. Within your imperfections lie great treasures worth parading in front of others. Learn to laugh at your foibles--and be ready to forgive yourself for your weaknesses. 

'Forgive yourself for your faults and your mistakes and move on.' Les Brown

I meant to do my work today

Lyrics from Elton John Song in Friends Soundtrack 1970

I meant to do my work today
But a brown bird sang in the apple tree
I know that one too
And a butterfly flitted across the field
And all the leaves were calling me
And the buttercups nodded their smiling heads
Greeting the bees who came to call
And I asked the lizard the time of day
As he sunned himself on a moss grove
And the wind went sighing over the land
Tossing the grasses to and fro
And a rainbow held out its shining hand

So what could I do but laugh and go

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For more than 30 years, Susan has been helping people lighten up and step over invisible barriers to change one step at a time. She speaks to your heart, puts you at ease, and makes changing easier than ever before.

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1 comment:

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Sue, what perfect timing! This arrived just when I'm despairing of ever completing my desk de-piling. That project has been my number-one-must-do for two weeks now, and I'm just not getting anywhere with it! :D