Are you able to embrace your “youness”? Do you enjoy, appreciate and even celebrate the things that you do well and love doing? Or are you stuck feeling embarrassed and hiding the things that you are naturally awesome at?
For the longest time I was embarrassed about the things that made me happy. I’m a domestic, introverted kind of gal. I love to read, cook, bake, garden and exercise. I love organizing and efficiently handling my to do list. I love being with family and friends, but small groups and one on one is where I flourish. I always found myself uncomfortable about these things. Like I was “supposed” to be out doing extroverted stuff and participating more in lively events. Like reading and doing other quiet things was somehow nerdy or uncool.
Now we could talk a lot about societal pressures and blah, blah, blah, but at the end of the day, it was my own insecurities that kept me from truly enjoying every minute of my pastimes. I always did the things that made me happy, I just felt awkward and uncomfortable when I thought about it or the subject came up in conversation.
Why did I do this to myself????
Last year I was lucky enough to be introduced to the book Now, Discover your Strengths and the assessment inside—the Gallups Strengthsfinder (thank you Marie Forleo and B-school). This is a fifteen minute “test” that assesses your top five strengths. These strengths are the things that you do without thinking. The way that you would behave if a nuclear bomb were headed your way—it is so natural to you that sometimes you don’t even recognize them as strengths. We all have them. Strengthsfinder was developed for business, but I think it is a wonderful tool that can be used by everyone.
My top five strengths came out as: discipline, responsibility, intellection, input and learner.
Even after I received these results I was embarrassed. I joked, “well I’m not the life of the party, but you can count on me to be on time for carpool”.
Wait a second. Aren’t there people who long to be efficient? People who would give their right arm to have the discipline to get things done, be on time and exercise regularly? And I do these things easily?
Why aren’t I embracing this? Why aren’t I appreciating the things that make me who I am?
So I started. Now it makes sense why I can’t ever seem to get enough information into my brain. Now I understand why I can’t be late even when I try (fashionably late? So difficult!). Now I understand why I was able to adopt four children, add a fifth and keep my head above water. I was born this way. This is how I roll.
And I can now say, forty odd years later, that I am proud of it. I am good at these things and owning and appreciating them feels great. It’s silly that it took me so long, but at least I am here now.
My husband also took the test and it has been very helpful in understanding and supporting him as well. Things that I had given him a hard time about suddenly were shown in a different light. When harmony came up in his top five, it made me understand why he was always trying to keep the peace—which is so annoying when you think a fight is in order! But now, I understand and work with him instead of against him.
Now it’s your turn. How do you feel about your strengths? Do you want to take the test, or do you already have a good sense? Do you embrace the things you do well? Do you love what makes you YOU? Please leave your comments below.
For $9.99 you can take the test right now! (I am in no way affiliated, I just think it is a great assessment tool)