When we talk about change and development, sooner or later we inevitably come to the topic of our own strengths and weaknesses. But... what is that anyway?
In keeping with the zeitgeist of 2020 and 2021, one could of course say: no human being has real weaknesses and one should not concern oneself with such negative things. But before I drift into cynicism again, that is not the point.
In my job, I get to help people make positive changes in their lives all the time. It would be nice if some kind of one-fits-it-all - system had emerged in recent years, but no such thing. People are as individual as they are, and their paths are as unique. Which, I'll be honest, I find absolutely fantastic and wonderful. In my eyes, it would be tragic if we could find the software error in every little problem that comes our way and then just install a new programme. Conventional medicine tries to do that, but the bottom line is that it doesn't really work.
Which brings us to the point where more and more people are realising for themselves that they have the absolute right to be happy and to lead a life that they determine and want to lead themselves. We don't need to get into topics like "hamster wheel", "debt trap" or things like that. What is important is that once we have taken the first step...
...yes. What then? Then we usually don't get much further, immediately fall back into old patterns and see ourselves and also our whole environment confirmed, which has prophesied something like this. You see? You just really can't do it. Tend to your own garden, will you.
That's utter malarkey. I actually had another word in mind, but I think you understand what I mean. First of all, there is this swarming behaviour, which is similar to that of crabs in a cauldron: if one of them starts to climb up the wall towards freedom, the others will grab it and pull it back down.
This is exactly what we sometimes do with people who slowly but surely emancipate themselves from their environment. "If I can't have it, neither can you". It hurts me every time I witness such things. Even more so when it turns out once again that in the end it is the closest environment that behaves in this way. Because how are you supposed to defend yourself against something like that? How can you break free, climb out of the bucket, when on top of everything you are told that "in the end, the family is the family and is above everything"?
Hard. Very difficult. Especially since not everyone would react equally well to the suggestion of simply turning one's back on one's own family. "You can't do that! That... that's FAMILY!" (Surprise: Yes, you can. And you are allowed to. But that's a long way off and that's not what this is about at the moment).
Here we need our own strengths and it is important that we become aware of them again and again. Because often we have some that take us completely by surprise. In popular culture, "strength" is really only ever portrayed in a handful of ways: There's physical strength (i.e. MUSCLES!), mental strength, strength through cohesion (this is where FAMILY! likes to come on the plate). But... is that it?
Being able to concentrate, for example, to fold a perfect origami crane, is an absolute strength. The ability to plan a week from A to Z is another. Pre-cooking meals, keeping your home in order, following a simple routine in your daily life... these are all strengths that lie dormant in many of us without us ever becoming aware of them.
When I sat down at the end of 2019 with a blank book in front of me and a resolution inside, that was the first step. I asked myself what I was good at - and more importantly, what would come easily to me in my situation at the time. The answer was: getting up early. I can do that well. Then walk regularly for half an hour. I can do that too. I can make a daily plan for myself and follow it. And I can look back every evening and ask myself if I had done everything as I had planned. Sometimes the answer was yes. Sometimes no. Sometimes "partly".
What was important was THAT I did something. And I can only recommend this to everyone who wants to make a difference in their lives: Stop deceiving yourself. Focus on the smallest, most inconspicuous strengths. And then use them to climb out of the bucket. The view from the edge alone is great!