Sunday, February 17, 2008

Greatest strengths come from greatest weaknesses

Our strengths and weaknesses are actually two sides of the same coin. If you look at them as on a continuum, you can see how they fit together. In reality, our weaknesses are merely our strengths out of balance. Tenacity becomes stubbornness when used in the wrong way. Organization over done becomes obsessive control disorder. Love over done becomes enabling.

All of us are born with certain characteristics. Others develop over time as we grow and learn. These traits are not necessarily good or bad, it is what we do with them that make them good or not so good. Take the love example: it is a good thing to love, right? Of course it is, but sometimes people can take it too far, and it becomes something harmful to the person and others. Enabling is only one aspect of "over-loving". This phenomenon can lead to learned helplessness when you do too much for the person you love, never letting them learn to do for themselves. Others can become emotional cripples for the same reason.

Another example is creativity. I am an extremely creative person. For the most part that's great. I have received much kudos in life because of my creativity. However, as with most very creative people, I am a messy. I am so involved in "creating" that I don't focus on little things like putting things away in the right place and other "messy" behaviors. My husband has come to value that one goes with the other, but it took him a while.

My youngest granddaughter is also "creative". Or, as her step-dad (my son) calls it, she is "destructive". She is curious and likes to satisfy her curiosity without thinking through the consequences of her actions. Curiosity is a good thing in a four year old, but because she doesn't have the maturity to think first disasters happen all around her. Hmmm, I wonder how that works - CRACK.... Fortunately, I was able to remind my son he was the same way as a child.

Every trait you can think of that a person can have can get out of balance if used the wrong way. Every trait can be both good and bad, depending on how you use it. Most of us use our traits both ways at different times. So next time you find yourself annoyed at someone for one of their traits, take the time to look for the other side of that trait. What's going on to make that person manifest that trait in that way?

Remember that you too manifest your traits negatively on occasion, so reframe your ideas about positive and negative traits as you cut yourself and others some slack. Then reframe your ideas about change. You don't need to change the trait; you just need to change its manifestation by keeping your life in balance. Take those "negative" traits and turn them into their positive counterpart and allow them to propel you to become your best.

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