As humble humans we find it difficult to blow our own horn and yet we have no problem listing our faults. Every now and then we meet someone who’s so high on themselves we have to step back and marvel at their sheer audacity…..or is it confidence? We all ride the hills and valleys of life basking in the highs, when they come, and wallowing in the lows, usually unaware of what brought either on. And if there’s one thing we all do excessively well, it’s beat ourselves up. We are our biggest critics.
I recently determined to make a list of my strengths and weaknesses, just to test the theory of ‘humble’ human behavior and I was struck first by how short my ‘strengths’ list was compared to my list of weaknesses (which by the way is still in progress) and secondly, by the severity of my self-criticisms. (I’m a lot meaner than I thought)
Weaknesses – I have short legs, thick ankles, an unhealthy fondness for wine and salty food, a tendency to ‘speak my mind’, a fashion sense I’m told borders on ‘risky’, a quick temper, and painfully straight hair. I ride my kids too hard, nag my husband, judge too harshly, act impulsively, spend too much (ok, this was my husbands addition, not mine), demand too much of others, and over react in too many situations. Wow! What a mess! Can this be fixed? (maybe you should just shoot me)
Strengths – I don’t bite my nails, smoke, or eat spicy food (and yes, I consider that a strength cause eating spicy food is just a cop out for avoiding healthy food!) I recycle religiously, brush my teeth AND floss every day- twice, and cross only at designated cross walks. (what’s not to love?)
Ok, this is way harder than I thought! I decided it was time to cut myself some slack so I reviewed both lists and clearly modifications were in order.
Thanks to my short legs I can comfortably fit in the back seat of most cars. Strength.
Thick ankles just means I can’t wear anklets – there’s money saved on jewelry for my legs. Strength.
There is medical proof that red wine is actual healthy for the heart (ok, one 4oz glass a day is recommended for optimal heart health…..perhaps I take that one 6oz glass further to maximize on my cardiovascular well-being) Salt is the flavor of all food (and without it we’d all be reduced to eating tasteless, grainy mush, aka a vegan diet) Besides, salt makes me thirsty, which prompts the consumption of my heart-healthy wine (I’m nothing if not diligent about maintaining a healthy diet) Strength.
Speaking one’s mind is honest and forthright. It lets people know where you stand (whether they like it or not) and sets boundaries for how you expect others to treat you. Not always popular, but not necessarily a weakness. Strength.
A risky fashion sense just tells the world that you’re confident about how you present yourself. I like ‘fitted’ clothes. I like bright colour, and I wear both liberally. If you want to drape yourself in drab, over-sized, dowdy clothing, go ahead. It’ll just make me stand out that much more and I’m ok with that. Strength.
A quick temper…..ok, maybe it’s hereditary.
Painfully straight hair. I have made it a mission to employ a hairdresser that is discreet and does whatever is necessary to give the illusion of curl. Failing that, I just wear hats. Neutral. (I was born this way,,,,this is Gods’ fault)
That I ride my kids too hard, nag my husband, judge too harshly, act impulsively, spend too much and demand too much of others,,,, what can I say except, YOU’RE WELCOME! (I made you stronger, wiser, tolerant and more efficient. You are able to cope in this world of misfits because of me!) Strength.
Add these ‘revised’ weaknesses to my list of attributes and whoa!!!!! I’m a force to be reckoned with! (don’t mess with me)
So you see, it all comes down to perception. Those traits in my character that I perceived to be weaknesses are actually strengths (when you put a positive spin on them) That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it, and I highly recommend that you do the same. If you’re anything like me, your list of weaknesses greatly outweighs your list of strengths and that just undermines your confidence. We are, in short, our own worst judges.
Accept that you are what you are. We all have strengths – we all have weaknesses. And if you weigh the impact of each you may be surprised to see that your influence in this world is much better than you could’ve imagined, and the older you get, the better you look. (or at least, the more you can get away with it)
So the next time you see someone blowing their own horn, stand up, applaud, (cause it should be you) and follow their lead. You are amazing!