Sunday, January 8, 2012

Strengths and Weaknesses

Have you ever been sitting in an interview and been asked to tell them some of your strengths and some of your weaknesses? I have and I struggle with finding an answer every time. Why is it so difficult to admit our weaknesses and to acknowledge our strengths? This question applies to all of life as well, not just in an interview.

I believe we all need to take a step back and really own up to our weaknesses. We need to clean out the closet and humble ourselves enough to realize that we aren't perfect and that's okay, we weren't meant to be. Once we humbly admit our weaknesses we can find a way to push past them, work around them, and most importantly let God turn them into strengths. As I talk about recognizing our weaknesses I do not mean that we nit pick every little thing we don't like about ourselves and end up with a list a mile long and still growing. This is not a productive recognition of weakness, it is a way of beating ourselves up and will ultimately only drag us down emotionally.

A few of the weaknesses I see in myself are the fact that I am very shy when I first meet people. I don't like to be the center of attention. When I'm in large groups of people, especially ones I don't know very well, I would much rather sit back and observe everyone rather than get up and participate in whatever is going on. Because of this I tend to miss out on a lot of the fun. I am easily overlooked and forgotten about because I kept myself on the sidelines and not in the limelight. Another weaknesses of mine is that I am constantly worried about what others are thinking of me. I worry that I will do something stupid and everyone will make fun of me. I worry about being criticized or judged by my peers. I don't live the life most people think I should be living at my age and since I criticize myself for that I imagine that everyone else is as well.

Not long ago a good friend and I were discussing the topic of personal strengths and he asked me to tell him a few that I saw in myself. I struggled to come up with some. After seeing my struggle he gave me an assignment to go home and list as many personal strengths I could come up with. Then ask two of my family members to give me two strengths that they saw in me. After talking with family I was then to ask two of my closest friends to also tell me a few strengths they saw in me. When I was all done I was supposed to send him the list of what everyone had said.

I found it very interesting that my friends and family came up with things I had not thought of myself. Why is it that others can see the good in us that we don't see in ourselves? I learned a lot from this experience as I pondered on the things they had said and spent a lot of time praying for the ability to recognize those strengths in myself. It took some time, but I am proud to say that I found those strengths. I saw them and was grateful for them.

I am a loving person full of kindness for others. I am very non-judgmental of others and accept them as they are. I'm a good listener and am always there for others when they need me. I'm very thoughtful of others and spend time planning and executing ways that I can cheer someone up or help them get through a rough time. I have very vivid mind and a talent for writing. I communicate much better through writing than any other form of communication. When writing I am truly able to express my thoughts and feelings in a way that makes sense. I also have a deep and abiding testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This gives me the ability to remain strong in life and faith even when life seems to hit me hard and throws challenges my way that seem impossible to overcome.

Owning up to my weaknesses and recognizing my strengths helps me to understand myself a little bit better. I can't think of a better person to get to know better than myself. That may sound like a very conceited thing to say, but I firmly believe it is true. Once we come to know who we really are we are able to face life with a sense of confidence and purpose. We are able to see the good in others just as we see it in ourselves. We are able to love ourselves the way our Heavenly Father loves us. Knowing what makes us who were are gives us a special kind of power to face life head on and enjoy every minute of it.