Sunday, 11 May 2014

Recognising Strengths As Well As Weaknesses

We seem to live in a culture of two extremes- one where people are too cocky to admit their faults, the other too self conscious to admit their strengths. There are various reasons for this, one of which is the belief that it is the way that we are brought up- that we are taught to be modest and, while we should celebrate our achievement, we shouldn't 'flaunt them' to others.

It can also be argued that some people had their achievements celebrated so much that they have become over confident and blinded to areas that they need to improve on. Whatever the reason, a lot of people cannot get the balance right leading to either arrogance or 'conditional pride' which mostly takes on the form of, "I'm good at _____, nowhere near as good as ________ but OK." or "I guess I'm kind of__________________ but I'm not sure."

In regards to people who are self conscious, they- unfortunately- have no such conditions when it comes to pointing out areas where they may be lacking. How many times have you heard people say (including ourselves!) "I'm rubbish at _____________." or "I'm really bad at_________."?

Unfortunately, we tend to hear these sentences a lot more, which brings us nothing but pessimism and an unhealthy perspective of ourselves.

I'm writing this post with the focus on those of us who are quick to put ourselves down and to brush off compliments.

What is so bad about admitting that we're good at something or that there is something about ourselves that we like? The world will not end, we will not be struck down by lightening by accepting that there are aspects of ourselves that we think are pretty damn good. To admit our strengths- to hold our hands up and say, 'You know what? I am pretty good at this.' isn't bad. It's not arrogant, in fact it's a sign of confidence and self awareness.

Image from Google
OK, so here's a little exercise for us all to try- where ever you may be, whatever time it is, do it right this minute! (I'll be doing it as well!)

List three qualities about yourself that you really like. This can be anything from personality traits to appearance to any particular skills or talents that you may have. Now out loud- yes out loud (whisper it if you have to) repeat after me, filling in the blanks as you go:
  • I am good at __________________.
  • One thing I like about myself is___________________.
  • As a person, I am really ______________________.
Now, admittedly, when you do it at first it can feel a little uncomfortable and awkward (trust me, when I first started doing this I felt it too) but the more you say it to ourselves- the more time you take to get used to these phrases and wrap your heads around them, the words will start to sink in and you'll actually start to believe them.

Notice how things are exactly the same as they were before? After saying those words, the weather is still dreary as always here in Britain, I'm still typing and nothing dreadful has happened. In fact, the only thing that I would say has changed is the fact that I have acknowledged three things about myself that I can feel good about. In case you're wondering I went for:
  • I am good at writing.
  • One thing I like about myself is that I am approachable.
  • As a person, I am really friendly.
Some people are bound to argue that these things are subjective but a lot of how we perceive ourselves is anyway, the only difference is when choosing these phrases there will be something in the back of our minds that will make us choose certain words to fill in the blanks. Why? Because someone somewhere along the line has recognised this aspect of us and voiced it making it stick with us. If anything that should make us feel even better about ourselves because someone agrees with us!

What three things did you choose? Get in touch and let me know!

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