Way-Back Machine: How Your Weaknesses Are Also Your Strengths


We can't always go back to our youth and take up the old behaviors and daring escapades, but we can learn a lot about the groundwork that built our personality.  In fact, our weaknesses are also our strengths. 

By examining our youth, we can learn whether we picked a path compatible or not compatible with that personality. If you are feeling empty, confused, lost, or simply angry at your life situation, you might want to go back in the time machine....

It might not be as easy as the hot tube time machine flick, but hey a simple flip through a photo album, talk with an old friend, or a daydreaming session about the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, can bring it to light.

You made goofy decisions as a kid, but mostly it was either because you wanted to be socially accepted or you were testing your capabilities. It's not so much what you did, as why you did it and what you gained from the experience (lesson or satisfaction?)

Your Weaknesses Are Also Your Strengths

first grade

The first thing I recall as a child was being painfully shy, extremely so. I saw the world through watery eyes as I timidly cowered behind things and watched and listened before deciding to trust. A harsh voice, a loud noise would send me hiding. 

To this day, I still cannot stand noise. You won't find me in a club with a live band, but you can find me sitting in solitude on a boulder, looking down at a valley. That's my nature. It's always been my nature. 

And, even though I've become a public speaker and can be quite outgoing in front of an audience, outside of those situations, I am still shy. 

Parties and meetings are extremely uncomfortable for me as I don't know anyone and I grew up isolated in the countryside so not a lot of time with people, more time with nature. 

I still find myself awkward because I don't know the trends, the names being tossed about, the customs, and I never looked to others for social acceptance or to decide what I wanted or needed. 

I see others who use outside influences as examples and how they feel they come up short in every aspect up against impossible standards in the media, and I feel sad.  We have come to see the pretend-world of entertainment as an example of a real world.

I can recall a time I was on a go-see for a swimsuit modeling gig and they had us stand there while the decision-makers walked around us talking about our body as if we weren't able to hear. Never once did I take it personally.  I was able to separate their needs from my worth. 

I remember in first grade sitting on the edge of the playground watching kids playing hopscotch and wondering what that game was. Someone mentioned Cinderella and I pondered if she went to my school. My parents had me late in life after many kids, so no story time, kid's movies, or the like. 

But, every character's weakness is also their strength. From my tendency to not reference others, I became very independent, a leader, creative, never bored or needy of companionship, able to think with a philosophical and spiritual broad band, and oblivious to social pressure and cliques.  If I let someone into my inner circle, they are precious family.

There were a lot of emotional issues at home with my older siblings who were in and out of hippie-era trouble. I would go do sports to workout my anxiety to the point that I mastered gymnastics, high jump, long jump, skateboarding, freestyle rollerskating, tennis, basketball, archery, diving, and more! I moved my body excessively to expend my helpless feelings and master things, pushing myself. That weakness (family issues) and the coping skill (sports) were my weakness and my strength.

In fact, my reference for everything has been my own self. I don't compete with others. I compete  with myself to see how far I can go, what is possible, and if I beat my last measure of success. If I don't conquer something, I am very proud I tested what it would like to try. I have never looked at someone else and wanted to be them, have what they have, or do what they do. 

My process has always been very singular, and for that reason, I entered into areas of interest that were against my shy personality - modeling, pageants, dance, flag twirling, and majoring in communications with a focus on public speaking and film and literature to become a film critic. All along this path, I compared myself to myself. Even in pageants, I was focused on how I present myself and how unique I am. 

Perhaps the greatest example of my weakness being my strength was in my mid 20s when I began having panic attacks. Luckily, my desire to master things had me recovered in a few months' time, but the skills I learned I passed on by running an anxiety disorder group, sponsoring those afflicted, giving workshops, lectures, and writing articles. I gave back because that was the example my father had given me when I was growing up. He was a world leader in alcohol recovery, putting programs in around the globe.  I lost him when I was 16 (another weakness) but his influence was cemented into my young mind and his example lived on forever (strength). 

From my weaknesses, one of my greatest attributes is that I never want anyone to feel the bad things I've experienced all alone. 

Go back through your lifetime and see how the things you thought were weaknesses created strengths. 

Now pat yourself on the back!