09 January 2016

my non~strengths & non~weaknesses

Over the holidays, somewhere between Thanksgiving and Christmas, my daughter in law and I were talking about our strengths and I mentioned that I really don't like the term that goes with that, as in "strengths and weaknesses".  Mostly because those things, areas, etc are NOT weaknesses; they are just not outstanding strengths of mine.  I do have weaknesses, I do have strengths, and I do have some non~weaknesses that are non~strengths.

Is it any wonder we have so many folks who feel they live from one extreme to the other?  We have such clearly delineated dichotomies in our language, and not many neutral areas for the ordinary norms, those areas we do not hate but do not love, those activities that we do not excel at but do not fail at either.  It's awkward to speak of these things, our language itself doesn't seem to be structured in that way.  Our culture doesn't seem to value not having strengths that are not weaknesses either.

I remember when I was perhaps 13, and I was chatting with a friend of mine on the telephone.  I asked if she ever noticed that the magazines didn't show an example of how to apply eyeshadow if you had normally spaced eyes that were not too large or too wide or a nose that was too narrow or too low or eyebrows that were not too high or too thick/thin/long/short.  What if those things are all normal, average features and you just want to learn how to apply eyeshadow?  My friend laughed and said that those people do not exist and if they do, they would not need advice, they'd already know how to do those things.  Already she had bought into the idea that we all are flawed in some grievous manner and need to use illusions to distract onlookers from our too wide/narrow/fat/thin features.

So this idea of some middle ground, some acceptable average that is neither this or that, a third option that exists between the dichotomy of extremes; that moderate range where in actuality most of us do exist in many ways doesn't seem to be an option in our language.  What would YOU call a non~strength that is not a weakness either, but still exists?  That thing that isn't a deficiency but really isn't outstandingly great either?

I know I have strengths and this other category of not~strengths that aren't weaknesses.  I have some weaknesses, sure.  These are the things I would like to improve on.  For instance, I'd like to have better self control around food.  I'd like to have more commitment toward exercise and the gym.  I'd like to make healthier choices.  And I think I am improving in those areas.  Then there is a vast area of things that I do well, not great and not poorly; just ordinary.  And then I do have strengths, tho sometimes {like now} I am at a loss for what they are {they are there, tho, I know}.

Did you see what I just did there?  I was able to list weaknesses, sure.  Focusing on the narrowest part of what makes me, me.  That vast array of stuffs that does make up me, I just skimmed right over.  Chances are YOU do too.

Words are very important to me, and if I cannot even think of the words to label something, the concrete form of thinking about that nebulous thing, then how can I focus on it?

What are YOUR suggestions for how you think of these things?

1 comment:

  1. STRONGly written and very non-confusing. "Wordsmith, you are", sez Yoda!


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