Why is focusing on our strengths so important?
After all, some people would tell us that we should focus on our weaknesses instead of our strengths, in order to improve those areas in which we’re comparatively not strong.
There’s no question that we should be realistic about our weaknesses and do what we can to shore them up. Nothing is gained by ignoring, denying or disowning our areas of weaknesses.
That said: what we focus on, with consistency and intensity, forms the core of our self-image.
And our self-image determines what we are and are not wiling to do in our lives; what we’re willing to tolerate in our lives; the goals we feel good about pursuing; the rewards we believe we deserve.
Our self-image is the fundamental lens through which we see reality.
If we are disproportionately focused on our weaknesses, we form a self-image that revolves around things we can’t do well.
See, our brains take their cue about what’s important, especially about us as human beings, from our focus. “If they’re focusing on THIS THING so much, it must be REALLY IMPORTANT to who and what we are,” the logic goes.
It’s really easy to develop a lopsided version of ourselves, in which those things we CAN’T do well are more important than those things we CAN.
It’s even easier to develop this lopsided version of ourselves when we already have a set of beliefs that revolves around our inadequacies and failures. Which, unfortunately, many of us do.
What we focus on expands, at last in our minds.
What we think becomes easier to think again.
What we tell ourselves becomes easier to tell ourselves again.
It’s really, really important to keep perspective when we consider our weaknesses…and to remind ourselves that our weaknesses are NOT more important than our strengths.
Our strengths are what define us.
Our strengths are often more reflective of our interests and values than our weaknesses— which is why, frankly, they’re often our strengths to begin with.
We truly have the choice whether to define ourselves by our strengths or our weaknesses. Only we can determine where to direct more of our focus. No one else can make that decision for us— where our mind’s eye most often goes.
Why not define ourselves by our strengths?
After all, even if we want to shore up our weaknesses— it’s by looking at our strengths that we’ll find a roadmap of how to turn weaknesses into strengths.
(And by focusing on weaknesses, what are we trying to learn? How to turn strengths into weaknesses? Come on.)
Learning to focus, first and most intently, on your strengths, is a skill. It can be learned and practiced. And learning and practicing these skills are the key to developing self-confidence and stable, genuine self-esteem.
You can practice that skill right now.
What are your strengths?
What do you do well?
Those are questions worth getting in the habit of asking.
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