Part 2 in a 5 part series on living with Wholeness
I'm writing this series on Living with Wholeness to counter our obsession with perfection. Its partly (and perhaps largely) due to society's emphasis on flawlessness, and even more so for women. Perfect skin, the perfect figure, a perfect tan, the perfect vacation, the list is endless, have all become multi-billion dollar industries.
But they've also given rise to another multi-billion dollar industry - pharmaceuticals that help us overcome depression, anxiety, unhappiness. However, the reality is that no amount of pills in a bottle can fill the great void within that perfection creates. It's the void that our weaknesses - yes the ones we've rejected - were to occupy. It's the void of imbalance, of having lost a part of who we are.
I get passionate about this. We're living half-lives, because we're accepting only half of who we are. Our weaknesses are an important part of us, not only because they help us connect to our wholeness, but because they give us challenges to overcome, milestones to reach, goals to pursue - they help us live a life of meaning
Last week, I wrote about identifying the weaknesses we're unaware of. This week I'm writing about facing these weaknesses. This begins with stepping out of a fear-based response. Naturally we all want to avoid what is "bad" in us - it's the emotional brain that's forever appraising - us, others, situations - and wired to avoid what it dislikes. So when we identify a weakness, we try and turn away.
I ask you to turn around instead, and face what you see. Its in facing your weaknesses that you can see them for what they are. Else they remain forever cloaked in a garb of fear and turn into something they aren't - much like suppressed emotions that grow into explosive states that are far beyond what is warranted in the situation. You know what I mean!
Here are three steps you can take to do so:
Identify Your Weakness
Recall the weakness you identified in the previous blog. Is there self-doubt, and a fear of failing? Or does rejection hold you back, and makes you respond by seeking approval or closing down in shame? What weakness are you trying to conceal? What measures are you taking to keep it hidden?
Bring in Perspective
Our inherent negativity bias makes the 'bad' stand out way more than the 'good'. In fact research shows that it takes up to 3 good things to balance out the effect of one bad one. My experience makes me think its far more. Think about it - you have 10 good things happen to you in a day, and one piece of negative feedback. Which one will you be playing over again in your mind at night -- until it begins to consume you?
Having perspective means that we step away from this magnification. Ask yourself whether that weakness is really that bad. Have you internalized the criticism and judgment of others? Are you spending so much time hiding, justifying or protecting it that you're missing out on so much of what is good in you?
Embrace your Goodness
There is so much goodness within each of us - strengths, embedded gifts, a desire to help, a yearning to belong - that gets sidelined when we're consumed by our weaknesses and caught in a fear-based response. Ask yourself who you will be if this fear wasn't a part of your life? How would you show up with our weaknesses and your strengths? How would you open up to the opportunities around you and give yourself wholly to the world?
These are not questions saved for a later day. Ask then now, so the power in your response helps you rise above your fears, embrace your weaknesses and show up fully in this beautiful chance at life.
Next week I'll write about growing through our weaknesses. Until then, please post your comments -- the more we talk about our weaknesses, the more they lose their power on us!
Homaira Kabir is a positive psychology coach and cognitive behavioral therapist. She offers courses and coaching to help women develop the self-confidence and inner strength to identify and achieve their biggest and boldest goals. Sign up for her free quiz on learning to grow authentic self-worth.
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