In my last post, we talked about creating a narrative that highlights our strengths and using them to our fullest potential. In making this new narrative for ourselves, we are dumping the old narrative that focuses on our flaws. Women that struggle with identifying positive qualities or strengths about themselves feel stuck and lack vision for themselves. Focusing solely on our shortcomings doesn't allow us to see our true potential.
As women, we often aren't encouraged to talk about our strengths or positive qualities. Most of us didn't grow up hearing, "Hey, you are good at (blank), have you ever considered doing (blank). Growing up, what stuck with us all these years are the conversations revolving around our flaws. What we likely grew up hearing is more of a comparison to others and how we aren't good enough, or maybe she's not smart enough for school, you wouldn't be good at (blank), or a real kicker is "you don't need to go to school find a man to support you."As women, we are often taught to downplay strengths. Showing confidence as a woman can sometimes lead to being labeled as arrogant or boastful, which isn't true! There are people, relationships, experiences from our past that have influenced how we see ourselves, and our strengths.
So when you were naming some of your strengths and became uncomfortable, I want you to know that you are not alone. If you struggled with naming your strengths and had to reach out to a friend for help, I want you to know you are not alone. And the best part is you don't have to stay feeling stuck. Changing your narrative gives you permission to push aside negative voices from the past and focus on you. Focus on what you are good at, your goals, the life you want for yourself.
I have this sign that hangs outside my door when I'm in session. I made it myself. Well, I didn't actually make it. I bought the letters and put them on there myself. I love this sign because of how imperfect it is. I was the kid in kindergarten sent home with a note saying, "April needs to practice cutting in the lines." LOL! That cracks me up because I'm still that kid. I mess up, drawing a straight line with a ruler!
As you can see with my sign, my spacing is off, and I'm pretty sure I used a ruler. That's ok because that is not one of my strengths. But you know what, I have a ton of other strengths, and those strengths have helped me become the person I am today. Mainly because I made a conscious choice to focus on my strengths and not my flaws! I intentionally choose to focus on what I can do well. It wasn't always this way; there was definitely a time that I spent too much attention on what I could not do instead of what I could do.
Now ask yourself if you can say the same? If the answer is no, you are not alone. We are taught that flaws equal weakness, and that weakness means you will be unsuccessful. Blah, blah, blah. It's a bullshit narrative that leads us to focus on our flaws and doubt ourselves.
You can choose to follow that narrative, or you can choose a new narrative. One that focuses on your strengths and allows you to accept your flaws because you are human, and we all have them.
You can do a quick little exercise to start changing your narrative by taking out a piece of paper or pulling up the note section on your phone. I want you to list at least 10 strengths or qualities about yourself that you feel good about. How did listing them make you feel? Proud, uncomfortable, or maybe a little of both?
If you are struggling with listing at least 10, don't worry! We can work on that and remember you're not alone. Reach out to a good friend and ask them to name some of your strengths or positive qualities they admire about you. I guarantee they can list of 10 with no problem! And if they can't, you need new friends! Now, how does reading their list make you feel?
Hold on to this because I have a part two coming up with a follow-up exercise.