Weakness: Your Greatest Strength
I saw this meme on social media today, and it reminded me of a huge discovery I made that changed how I saw the world.
See, I’ve been an outlier all my life. As a kid, I was a dreamer. My mother told me to get ready for school only to come back five minutes later to find me with one sock halfway pulled up, staring off at nothing. I stayed a kid as long as humanly possible, despite high school graduation. As much as I adore people, I’d rather read. I’m a klutz. Seriously. I broke my foot once, falling upstairs. I’m the one in a party who says things that I should keep inside, only I don’t realize it until I see it on the face of my audience. My way of learning is to ignore advice, discover all the ways that won’t work, until I stumble upon the way that will.
I held these things and more as my secret shame all my life. Until I didn’t.
What changed? I realized that, whereas they are seen as weaknesses by the general public, most of them are exactly what I needed to become a writer.
They’re my strengths.
Dreamer=imagination. Picturing people and worlds that don’t exist, but should.
Staying a kid=perspective. Seeing the world through the eyes of wonder and putting that on a page.
Reading=drive. I’ve read so many books that made me want to be that good. They push me to be better every single day.
Awkward=empathy. You have to get into flawed characters’ backstories and motivation to build empathy for your characters. I understand flaws down to my bones.
Blurting=honesty. Sometimes you feel something so deeply that you want to explain it so others can understand. Okay, so a party may not be the best venue for that, but when it wants out, there is no stopping it.
Failing=persistence. Probably my greatest strength. I once had a boss tell me that I learned slowly, but once I figured it out, I never made a mistake again. I GOT it. I survived 417 rejections before I signed with an agent. I wanted it, and I figured if I kept breathing and learning, I had to get there eventually. It’s science.
It took me many years of struggling before I learned to embrace my weaknesses. Many more to embrace them. Now I see them as my strengths. I just had to find the right career to take advantage of them.
And being me, I had to find all the wrong ways first.
But what an amazing life that’s made! Not to mention the plots…
What are your weaknesses? Try a paradigm shift – how are they your strengths?
❤️❤️❤️ it’s hard to identify weaknesses but then to embrace them as strengths is a wonderful thing. Good for you.
I’m an empath my strength and weakness. It is really hard for me to say this. I struggle with depression and poor self esteem . … In an hour I’ll regret saying anything and want to delete this… 😔
David, I’ve done the same, my whole life, up until the last few years. DO not give up. You weakness is a wonderful strength! One the world needs a lot more of right now. Hang in, friend.
This is a great post — I’ve often observed that our greatest strengths (of which we’re so proud) are the flip side of our greatest weaknesses (to which we’re mostly blind). But I haven’t considered it from the other side of the coin, and your post is like a light coming on. Aha! So maybe my day-dreaminess and, often, obliviousness to what’s going on around me is due to a deep imagination at work. And perhaps the butterfly-like habit of my brain that often frustrates me as it flits from one topic to another is the very thing that allows me to sometimes make surprising connections. You’ve given me much upon which to noodle, and I thank you.
You’ve got it, Jan! Go make a list, and get ready for the epiphanies!
Great insights! We certainly can use our weaknesses to become better writers and better people! Thanks for sharing!
A very empowering group of observations. When you pull it all together, it is powerful. It took me 65 years to realize that ‘I am enough’ and to be proud of my accomplishments despite many, many putdowns from childhood on up. Still a work in progress too! Every day. Bless you, Laura.
Work in progress – me too, Mary!
Oh gosh Laura. . . I’ve never gone public with this – mentioned only to a beloved few: I didn’t learn to read until I was about 14 years old. And here I am – a multi-award winning writer. It’s almost comical to me. Was told ALL my life that I’m slow. But like you, I was day dreaming, wondering what life was like for this person or that. I was so busy imagining…. I didn’t pay much attention to “learning” and so was labeled. Once I heard my parents and teachers “label me” slow., I just tuned in all that much more to my imagination. I see and understand it all much better now due to my long years of studying the subject. For ONE I learned from University profs who were doing studies in the late 1990s that I am dyslexic and that there are different degrees and forms of dyslexia – namely that it can also include deciphering what I HEAR. My brain doesn’t translate what I hear into what I know or see on a page!!! Doo-dah! Who knew? With that knowledge, I blossomed inside myself but have continued to keep my secret all these years. I still struggle in a huge way sometimes, but without self judgement, I keep at a task until I find a way my brain can relate to what others find so easy and effortless. Thank you a thousand times over for this post. ❤️
KCF, I’m honored to be the platform where you ‘outed’ yourself. You are not alone. Christie Craig, NYT Bestseller, is also dyslexic. As is my granddaughter-she also has problems translating speech. She does it, it sometimes takes her a second or two longer.
You are so strong, to have left self-judgment behind. I can only imagine the pain you felt before you figured this out . . .
You kept at it until you found your strength, hidden under what others saw as a weakness.
You’re my hero.