Embrace your Strengths

mental health Jan 03, 2024
Embrace your Strengths

Our society has this fixation on making everybody into these all-rounders who can do anything that is needed of them until they enter university. This is quite toxic since nobody is equally capable of doing the same things. To kick off this new year right, learn to embrace your strengths properly.

The points we'll be going over are the following:

  • Your strengths are your advantage
  • Find those who are complementary to your strengths
  • Accept that you can't do everything yourself

Your strengths are your Advantage

Think back to a time that you did something with little to no effort. Chances are you're talented at what you did. However, most people don't look at this and find a strength to be nurtured. Instead, they often look to the next trial.

The strengths you have are meant to be refined. We all have them, and they are what makes us who we are.

To put it simply, your strengths are one of your unfair advantages. What does this mean?

First off, everybody has something unfair in their favor. Whether it be lots of money, a harder childhood that taught you how to have grit, or having access to knowledge, these advantages can be considered unfair.

Your strengths are one such unfair advantage. It is something that somebody may want because it may be exactly what they need to continue making progress.

Secondly and more importantly, we often take these advantages for granted.

It's like your face: because you see it every day, you don't think there's anything significant about it. However, somebody else may find it appealing in a way you never thought about.

We're so used to having our strengths that we don't think there's anything that significant about them unless someone points it out to us or we're raised to see them as significant.

When we embrace our strengths, we are saying yes to our inherent unfair advantages. Finding these strengths is quite simple also.

Simply look back at your life and see the things you've excelled at or are still drawn to. Chances are you've got an affinity for these things.

For example, if you're a musical person, chances are you have a more creative mind. That creative mind would be the strength in question.

By learning to accept your strengths as your own, you create unfair advantages for yourself for years to come.

Find those who are complementary to your strengths

It is always harder to accept things when they are out of context. Without sufficient details, it's harder to truly appreciate how all the pieces fit together. Therefore, it's a good practice to make sure that you have the right pieces in the puzzle of your life.

It's one thing to know your strengths, it's another to truly appreciate them. The reality is that if we can't fully appreciate them, then we'll never fully utilize them.

The only way to truly appreciate anything is when we have enough context. And the easiest way to have the right context for our strengths is to surround ourselves with the right people.

You can accomplish this in two main ways.

The first way is to find people with the same talents who also appreciate your talents and challenge you to keep improving. These people tend to show you just how amazing you are while keeping you motivated.

These are the people who keep you accountable not only to them but to yourself. They make you want to be better and try harder.

The second way is to find people who have strengths that cover your weaknesses. As nice as it is to have people appreciate where we excel, a true use of your gifts is when somebody needs it more than they want it.

These people who can cover your weaknesses are often people whose weaknesses you can also cover. This give-and-take gives you hard evidence that your strengths are useful to others.

It's a lot easier to embrace our strengths when we have the proper context to see that they are strengths. Without this context, it becomes difficult for us to see how it's useful.

As mentioned in the last section, it's like the attractiveness of your face: without somebody to shine a light on it, we don't see anything significant about it.

When we surround ourselves with those who are complementary to our strengths, it becomes that much easier to accept them and truly make them part of who we are.

Accept that you can't do everything yourself

Overconfidence is a slow and insidious killer, a flimsy shield, and any other metaphor that fits this bill. It's one thing to accept your strengths, but when you're overconfident then you can't truly shine. Eventually, you get blotted out by your hubris because you flew too close to the sun.

As much as we want to believe that we can do everything by ourselves, the reality is that we can only do so much. We only have so much energy and so much time.

The points we've discussed so far already do a lot to help with this process. So instead, I want to focus more on how to make the process easier.

First, have enough humility to see where you fall short.

Most people have so much pride that they won't accept when they need help. They power through to a mediocre conclusion.

You don't need to be so humble that you downplay your achievements. You just need enough to see where you need help and where you can improve.

Second, be appreciative of those who are complementary to your strengths.

These people will be one of the bigger reasons you can see your strengths shine through. Without them, it would be a lot harder for you to see just how great you are.

It's only fair that you return the favor to them by letting them shine through their strengths. By doing this, you create an infinite loop of goodwill toward each other.

Third, make sure you don't have a fear of asking for help.

We often don't ask for help because we are scared of being seen as less capable. When we truly embrace our strengths, we learn that asking for help doesn't make us any less capable than we were before.

Those who have this fear of asking for help limit themselves more than they realize. It is often the reason why they get stuck in life.

By learning to balance out our strengths with the assistance of others where necessary, we get stuck in life a lot less. When we have a solid support system to fall back on, we become more confident in our abilities which then further magnifies our strengths.

Embrace your Strengths and those of others

It's in our strengths that we find comfort and confidence. And when we bring people into our lives who have strengths that complement our own, the effect is even greater.

Instead of trying to do everything yourself and become an all-rounder, learn to rely on not only your expertise but the expertise of others.

- Karl