Play To Your Strengths

As I said earlier last month, I’ve been occupying a different place in my life for the past few months. Usually, I flourish with an introverted personality and quiet times but, lately, I’ve been enjoying a much more extroverted space. I find that I’m enjoying socialising much more, being out of the house, and keeping busy. Ordinarily, I would’ve fought this and shied away from it but I’ve had the courage to lean into it entirely and enjoy the novelty of it all…

Of course, this has come at a bit of a cost against my quiet, contemplative self which explains the radio silence on the blog since the beginning of 2019. I’m not mad about it and I’m not guilty – like I said, I’m leaning into it and enjoying it. It just means I need to learn how to balance the chaos and the quiet, maybe putting in a little more determined effort into blogging.

However, I’ve been so ill the last week. What started as a sore throat has gradually evolved into a cold. As such, I’ve been forced to slam on the breaks and slow down, much to the delight of my introverted side. It’s been tough as I find it hard to relax and ‘do nothing’ as it is. (I’m a Leo Sun, Aries Moon, and Saggitarius Rising – the fire burns all day at both ends.) I like to feel productive. Combined with the fact that I’ve been hormonal, my inner critic has had the time and space to come out, and I’ve been hearing her loud and clear. In sum, she’s told me that I need to make much more space in my life for creative things again and stop neglecting it because my heart needs that shit to feel happy and fulfilled. Everything else is just distraction and running away.

The point of me telling you all this?

Well, I was browsing Instagram the other day and I follow a lot of fitness influencers. This girl popped up on my feed and I just thought “Damn! She looks amazing. I wish I could be that dedicated to the gym…” And I stopped myself with the thought of “…but that’s her strength, not mine.”

The art of comparison. We hear about it a lot, about how harmful it is, and how it isn’t always helpful. I’ve spoken about it before but today was the day I really got it, yaknow? It wasn’t just encouraging words, it was truth.

This influencer’s strength was in her love for fitness and the gym. I’ve been trying to get into the gym for ages and, I guess, I do appreciate it more now. And, as you know, I love running. But, I don’t think I’ll ever be into it enough to get a tight body like hers because that’s just not my jam. Same with running – I am not built for speed. After nearly 12 years of running, I’ve never moved past 9 minute miles. Some people I know can run 7 minute miles but that isn’t me…I can’t achieve a PB record for running a half in 1 hour 40 minutes…I won’t be sprinting anytime soon. My strength lies in distance. Tell me to run 12 miles on a Sunday afternoon and I will. I’ll be fine. I can go the distance. It won’t be fast but, let me tell you, I won’t get tired. I can breathe through the pain, get a second, and a third, wind. I got it.

My strength doesn’t lie in lifting weights. I love cardio too much for that. Neither does spending every evening working out turn me on…What does play to my strengths, however, is spending an hour or so writing a blog post, or writing a poem based on something hidden I need to get off my chest, or painting/drawing. It’s in the slow, considered, creative moments that bring me to life.

Too many times we view the strengths of others, the gifts and talents that they’ve cultivated, the wonderful abilities they’ve been born with, and covet them. We covet them so much that we fail to see what we already have going on ourselves. We see what is in their hands but fail to see what we are holding ourselves. We get caught up weeping with sorrow for what we don’t have when we should be weeping with joy for what we do have. We try to be like others and we feel like we are failing but we’re not – we’re just a Fish looking at a Monkey and thinking we can climb the tree, amiright?

I’m all for working on weaknesses and I’m certain that if we worked hard enough, we would overcome. But there is a time for saying “This is what I have, and I’m going to use it to the best of my ability.” Allow yourself to flourish by celebrating your strength and using it as often as possible. Cultivate it, nurture it, and watch it bear even more fruit.

Take some time to learn what your strengths are.
Trust that you are good enough to have them and that there is no one else who could do it like you.
Then go and show the world what is in your hands.

Play to those strengths – you got this.

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