Weaknesses are those areas of our lives the ego uses against us. Our inner critic reminds us of those things we don’t do well. But we aren’t all meant to be good at everything. Our individual skill sets are unique and supposed to differ from others.
I took business courses in college and had a minor in accounting. I can keep my accounts balanced, determine profit and loss, but I am not good at doing my taxes. But, I spent two years doing my taxes, and each year paid taxes after getting refunds most of my life. Obviously, this is a limitation in my skill set. Could I learn how to do my taxes effectively, sure? But is it the best use of my time when my soul wants me to write and coach others? Probably not.
So allowing my egoic mind to make me feel bad about myself is a waste of time and energy. Especially when I can easily have someone who is excellent at taxes take care of them for me. But many of us permit the ego to focus on areas where we don’t thrive—keeping us stuck and feeling negative about ourselves. When we know the areas where we don’t thrive, it keeps us from exerting energy ineffectually.
I now know myself to be a person of weakness and strength, liability and giftedness, darkness and light. I now know that to be whole means to reject none of it but to embrace all of it. ~ Parker J. Palmer
Understanding Weaknesses Versus Strengths
We all have innate abilities. Each of us also has those things we are passionate about doing. When our passion and talents coincide, those areas are where our soul desires us to be. This inspired action usually is where we find ourselves in a flow state and lose time and enjoy our work. The effort we put towards those things that enthuse us is our mission, our purpose.
But when we are doing things we dislike or find frustrating, we may need to consider the effort we are putting out is not the best thing for us. I’m not saying that we won’t get frustrated doing those things we enjoy. Still, when we come upon an obstacle, we easily overcome it. When we dislike what we are working at, the ego will quit if we get irritated.
Our strengths are a combination of our innate skill set, our passion, and where we feel confident. Our weaknesses may be areas where we do well, but don’t make us feel self-assured. We feel weak, even if we did something good enough. So why do we do things that don’t inspire us or make us feel inadequate?
We can’t avoid those areas where we don’t thrive, but if we are aware of them, we can do the best we can. Even if it means we hire someone else to do the work. When we can focus on what we do best, our influence will be more significant, and our happiness will increase.
Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. ~ Thomas A. Edison
Not Two Sides of the Same Coin
Dr. Don Clifton helped psychology to focus on what makes a person well adjusted. His focus was a strength-based approach to helping others instead of trying to “fix” their shortcomings.
Limitations are not always negative. In this dualistic egoic world, we think a weakness is the opposite of strength. But in reality, it means that we don’t have an innate ability in a specific area. It’s the absence of a natural aptitude.
Again, I can learn to do my taxes, but that doesn’t mean I’ll ever enjoy doing the work. And I certainly wouldn’t want to be a tax consultant. We know many people who have jobs they can do but don’t enjoy, and many of those people are miserable. And when we see someone who loves the work they do, they excel. We can see their confidence, joy and know they are genuinely concerned about what they produce.
Our strengths arise from our inborn talents, which fuels us to continue to learn and grow. Our growth mindset is a natural state when our abilities and passion collide. We can’t take an area where we don’t have a natural ability and make it a genuine strength. We can learn about it, practice, and gain aptitude. But we base an actual strength on an underlying ability that we consciously choose to develop.
Never be afraid to expose a weakness in yourself. Exposing a weakness is the beginning of strength. ~ Robert Anthony
We Don’t Need to Be Fixed
There is, and there has never been, anything about us that needs fixing. We were born whole, and despite any traumas we may have endured, we are still whole. So the idea of fixing a weakness is a lie of the ego to keep us stuck.
We can learn to do new things. We can change our behaviors and gain understanding. But those areas in which we are not innately gifted aren’t something to be fixed. When we realize our weaknesses, we can take responsibility by managing them. We can use our strengths to decrease their undesirable effect.
Those things that come easily to us we often take for granted. But these are the areas that we have our gifts. It’s the lie of the ego that only when something is hard is it valuable. So we invest time, money, and effort into those areas that we struggle with instead of those that come effortlessly to us.
If we invest the time, money, and effort in those areas we enjoy and can do without difficulty, think of how much more we can give to others. Mastery is the capacity to invest in the areas where we already have a natural tendency to excel.
Success is achieved by developing our strengths, not by eliminating our weaknesses. ~ Marilyn vos Savant
Are We Allowing Our Weaknesses to Hinder Us?
When we know those areas where we have inadequacies, it helps us develop our strengths and move towards our dreams. Our acknowledgment of our weak points means we don’t allow the ego to hinder our progress.
Those things about our personality that hold us back don’t have to. When we see an area that needs improvement, we have options. We can learn a bit more about that area, so we aren’t incompetent or know we need to ask someone for help when a particular type of issue arises. This knowing builds our confidence in our ability to make a decision to move us forward.
Building our self-confidence is essential when we are looking at our strengths and weaknesses. This assurance arises from our soul. When we get quiet and hear the encouraging whispers of our hearts, it enables us to see that we don’t need to do everything perfectly. Being competent may be all we need.
Remember, a weak area isn’t a problem unless we allow the ego to focus on that area and keep us from moving towards our dreams. We need to accept this part of us and build up our confidence in those areas to make wise decisions. How? By spending our time in areas we excel, knowing when to delegate to someone more proficient, and reduce our stress by focusing on those areas, we thrive.
Once we know our weaknesses, they cease to do us any harm. ~ George Christopher Lichtenberg
Are Our Behaviors Weaknesses?
The areas in which we rarely succeed the ego sees as a weakness. But the egoic mind has a limited viewpoint. Let’s look at those areas where we don’t excel with compassionate eyes to see the truth.
If we have little or no experience in an area doesn’t mean it’s a disadvantage for us. Maybe we’ve had no previous reason to explore this skill or weren’t aware of how to investigate this subject. If it doesn’t interest us, let it pass and move on. But if we are curious, then take the time to study this new topic.
There may be things we need to unlearn. Because we believed an untruth someone taught us, and now we have a limiting belief that hinders our progress. I unwittingly believed I wasn’t creative from an art teacher’s comment in high school. This lie kept me from painting for over twenty-five years.
If we don’t have resources, support, or self-discipline, maybe we couldn’t grow to our full potential. As told in my new book, Raven Transcending Fear, my childhood trauma kept me from growing as I needed to. I stayed trapped in my egoic mind for a decade. Once I received the support, resources, and self-discipline to work through the healing process, I could thrive in areas I had little confidence in but had natural talents.
I’ve made peace with the fact that the things that I thought were weaknesses or flaws were just me. I like them. ~ Sandra Bullock
Accessing Our Strengths And Weaknesses
To determine those areas that hold us back from living the life we desire, we need to ask ourselves some questions.
- What’s holding me back?
- In what areas have I always struggled?
- What limiting beliefs do I need to unlearn?
- What areas do I need to build confidence in so I feel competent?
- Are there certain situations I have more difficulty?
- Are there issues arising from my personality quirks or my mood?
- Do I need more experience in an area for me to thrive?
- Are there ways for me to manage this area better?
When we evaluate our answers, we can determine if one area’s weakness is actually a strength in another. For example, I am a recovering control freak and have a place for everything. But many people only see I am well organized.
Our responses to the question help us provide solutions to our choices as we move forward to create the life we desire. We can focus on using our strengths and limit the effect our weaknesses have on our dreams.
- What are my dreams?
- What skills do I already have to help me meet my goals?
- What do I need to learn to help me achieve my desires?
- Do I need to rearrange my priorities to accomplish my goals?
If our dream aligns with our skill set, we can easily move forward with little concern about those areas that we don’t excel. If not, we may need to re-evaluate what we truly desire or determine how we will gain the skills we need.
Our strength grows out of our weakness. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Our tribe can help us see those areas we are strong in and what areas need improvement. Ask them to help us evaluate our skill set. When we share our perceived weaknesses with others, we discover we strengthen our bonds with them.
When we look with compassionate eyes, we see our authentic selves. We see those areas that we are passionate about and those areas we are less than competent in. But through it all, we realize that our authentic self is all we need to be. Others in our lives can help us in areas we are less confident in. That’s why we have friends, family, and coworkers.
Within our perceived weaknesses and imperfections lies the key to realizing our true strength. ~ Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche
Do you need support to help you understand those weak areas and your strengths? Do you want a strategy to help you overcome the ego’s limiting beliefs and live a successful life? If so, please reach out to me at TerriKozlowski.com, and we can put together an action plan for you to create the life you desire.
Don’t forget to check out my book, Raven Transcending Fear, which is now available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle! The link is in the show notes, or you can go to www.RavenTranscendingFear.com!