It’s taken many years, but I have started to accept and love myself. It took time to admit that there is no such thing as perfection. That I wouldn’t always be liked by everyone or ‘fit in’ everywhere. So, I am sharing 5 myths about weaknesses that I had to break in my own personal experience with you today. This is with the hope that it will encourage you to believe in yourself. Stop trying to please everyone and understand that weakness can also be a strength.
I use the word 'weakness' intentionally. This is usually what people mean by saying 'areas of development'. And it's not about the growth mindset when all the parties see these as areas of development. It's about misinterpretation of our barriers.
‘Being quiet is a weakness’
Early on in my childhood, I was quite shy. Being ‘quiet’ meant that I was not the first person that other children approached when we would play games. Because of this, I tried to learn how to speak louder, smile more and be more ‘energetic’ to try and fit in with the others. Looking back at this, I was a little bit naïve. But I believed that I had to change who I was as a person, along with my own personality to fit in more. Now that I am an adult, I agree with this incredible quote by Susan Cane, who said:
“There is zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas”.
‘You should hide your accent from others’
I was always shy about my accent; this was a regular worry all throughout my childhood.
Some of you know that I speak two languages, which is of course a great skill to have. But I always felt worried people would not be able to understand me. Or they would make judgments about my personality, based on my accent.
This all changed and I completely stopped thinking about it. My accent will always be with me. It’s a huge part of who I am. It makes my speech unique. I am incredibly grateful to all my friends here, (who are native speakers). They have always supported me whenever I felt uncomfortable. They would tell me to forget about it, and not to be stressed as it’s a huge part of my identity. They reassured me. They couldn’t have been more right, and I follow their advice still to this day!
‘You’re not strong enough to be an entrepreneur’
I was told that I ‘couldn’t become an entrepreneur, because this direction is for people who ‘take risks’. This was one of the most important times I had ever trusted my own instinct. And had to listen to myself instead of others. Some people will see you as too ‘weak’ to take on certain things and make decisions in your life. It’s so important to turn that around into a positive. Find the strength to push past the doubt you face and listen to what YOU want.
Instead of listening to anyone who told me I was too weak, I went for my dream. Even though I knew it would be a difficult journey. Now more than ever, I take risks. And I decide what actions I am going to take in my life. So their harsh judgement had made me into a stronger person. This is my personal journey, and it is up to me what direction I want to take. You should do the same with any challenges you are faced with.
‘You can’t please everyone’
I used to think: ‘I want all people to respect and be eager to interact with me’. This sounds a bit idealistic. The truth is you can’t be liked by everyone. And you can’t help everyone. There will always be people sharing the same values. There will be people who have different opinions. It’s important to respect that we are all different. Not trying to please people, we can accept everyone for being who they are.
This is the beauty of humanity – we are all different. So, if you ever find yourself trying too much to be accepted, or respected by someone don’t let this affect you. You won’t always agree with everyone else either. And sticking to your own opinions doesn’t make you weak – it makes you strong.
‘You need to always appear well in front of your friends & family’
The bottom line is that we are only human. It’s fine to be sad, angry, quiet or frustrated. Showing these emotions doesn’t make you weaker whatsoever. We all need a way to express negative emotions - it’s important for our health.
If you keep these thoughts and feelings locked away, this doesn’t make you stronger. They will chip away at you over time. Giving in to these feelings makes you stronger as a person. Plus you will feel so much better for talking to someone or letting the negativity out.
I know that my friends and family love me for who I am, and not for whom I try to be.
I hope the topics I raised in this blog post help you to overcome anything that you see as a weakness. We are so much stronger than we think – it all starts with our mindset.
If you need any further help with how you approach these problems in a positive way. Feel free to contact me and we can chat about the ways we can overcome these feelings together!