When I went to check my editorial calendar for the topic of today’s blog post, it was blank. Somehow, despite planning out my blog content a month ahead, I had neglected to put a topic on today’s date. Maybe it’s because it was at the end of the month and I didn’t notice that extra box, or maybe it’s because I was so excited about potential Christmas content that I skipped over Halloween entirely. Whatever the original reason, I’m glad it happened, because it made room for this.
As I was scrolling through my blog the other day, I found an older post called Change. Rereading it was an experience; I could profoundly feel the emotion behind the post and I felt so deeply connected to that piece of writing in that moment. Don’t get me wrong – I love writing content that’s more clearly applicable to other people’s lives, like outfit ideas or study tips, but sometimes it’s nice to use this platform for its original purpose: a place to express myself and to turn that expression into something positive and constructive for you, the reader.
This semester, I’m taking a class on leadership. It’s the first part of a two-part course, and this section is focused largely on defining yourself and the ways you want to grow. One of the first exercises was to define our strengths and weaknesses, and to do so by the input of people around you. When the time came to synthesize these interviews into self-reflection, something became abundantly clear. My biggest weaknesses center around (ironically) a fear of being seen as weak.
I’ll fully admit that I don’t talk about emotions particularly well; admitting that I’m sad, hurt, or upset is something I naturally recoil from. I struggle in asking for help or in delegating tasks, because I like being perceived as self-sufficient. While I’m totally comfortable speaking in public, I don’t like being told that I’m wrong and have a tendency to go on the defensive when people try to correct me. All of these “ugly sides” of my personality stem from the same place: an inherent refusal to admit or display any form of weakness.
Social media doesn’t help with this. People are consistently only showing off the most glamorous parts of their life (I’m guilty of this too), so you don’t get a sense of the fact that yes, other people go through difficult things too. It’s tempting to shut off the weaker side of yourself from the world and soldier on, without ever admitting weakness.
But here’s the thing. Weaknesses are good, at least in the sense that weaknesses are the cracks in an otherwise perfect exterior that expose us to the living, breathing human within. Weaknesses, our ability to feel emotions and to make mistakes and to learn from those mistakes, make us who we are. If we didn’t have weaknesses and didn’t let those weaknesses reveal themselves every once in a while, life on Earth would be rather lackluster.
While strengths are great, people ultimately relate to each other through their weaknesses. Humans love confirmation that everyone else around them is also, in fact, completely and utterly human. Learning to accept that, “hey, I’m not perfect, but neither is anyone else,” is hard but necessary.
Being the logical and achievement-oriented person that I am, I want there to be a concrete solution to this: some “5-step process to accepting and embracing your weaknesses.” But getting over a fear of weakness isn’t a methodical process; personal growth isn’t an exactitude. It takes time, and it takes some level on unshakable self-confidence in that you’re able to admit that you’re not perfect and that it’s totally okay for you to be that way.
This is a “work in progress” for me; it’s a conscious effort to be more open about where my weaknesses lie and allowing myself to be weak. Because that weakness, that vulnerability – that’s where the best parts of life happen. Vulnerability breeds friendship, trust, and love, and isn’t that what most of us want most out of life anyways?
Perfection just isn’t worth it. Get over the fear of being flawed and the fear of showing these flaws. Let imperfections become your new perfect. That’s where the magic happens.
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