Day 17 – My strengths and weaknesses list post
I’m afraid this post will reveal one of my weaknesses, which is a categorical dislike of absolutes (just kidding). Going back to my discussion of positives and negatives of a few days ago, you’ll find that I approach strengths and weaknesses in a similar way. As wishy-washy and annoying as generalities may be to some people, in my experiences of life, both strengths and weaknesses fall along a continuum. As a person who has lived with depression, I’m aware of the nuances in life: the shades of grey. Shades of grey become very important, believe me, when it’s a matter of rising above our darkest despair.
To me, deciding what are strengths and weaknesses is an arbitrary process. For example, some might say my tendency to overthink things leads to annoying first paragraphs like the one above. Others may find value in it, however. It’s dependent on context, including my situation and experiences, the situation and experiences of other people, and indeed the state of the world itself.
With this preface over, here’s my wishy-washy attempt at listing my strengths and weaknesses.
Resilience: My survival is a direct consequence of resilience (strength); which also made me put up with situations and people longer than necessary because I believed I should endure them (weakness).
Empathy: My ability to care deeply for others (strength); and to care for others before myself to the detriment of my health (weakness).
Sensitivity: This quality was often used as a criticism, but I’ve come to realize that sensitivity is the source of my writing, art, love of animals and nature, and so much more (strength). It also means that I feel hurts keenly: especially the hurts done to others (weakness). Being the one who did the hurting is catastrophic to me.
Openness: Sharing my experiences in the hope that it will benefit others (strength); and sharing too much, sharing before I’m ready, or sharing with the wrong people (weakness).
Self-compassion: Although at one time this felt like an overwhelming weakness, as I never offered kindness to myself, during the last two years I began learning to extend the same compassion to myself as I do to others, and found, paradoxically, that this practice has become a source of strength.
Humour: I’ve had a good sense of humour as far back as the 6th grade, which I think was a direct attempt to survive my 6th grade teacher. Even when I feel at my worst, I can usually find things to laugh at, even if the only audience for my comedic wit is my better half (strength). I am a fan of self-deprecating humour (weakness). I can also make myself laugh, usually while talking to myself (madness?).
Hope: The only quality I tend to get categorical about is hope. Even when things are at their worst, and there indeed seems to be a lack of hope, I do my best to go on. This suggests that hope is perhaps my most steadfast and desirable strength.
How do you feel about strengths and weaknesses? Do you disagree that a strength can be a weakness, and vice-versa? Have you ever been surprised by what other people identify as your strengths?