The Most Important Thing

If I were to propose the following question to you, how would you answer?

“What would you say are your greatest strengths and what would you say are your significant weaknesses?”

If you’re anything like me, the weaknesses will come to mind much sooner than the strengths…and the weaknesses column would probably go on more so than the strength column.

Earlier this week, my meditation practice focused on practicing self-acceptance and being talented, I found myself rolling my eyes…BEHIND closed lids. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all about accepting myself just as I am. But really? Am I? Back to that original question. One of my strengths is my growth mentality. I love to learn, I love to work on transformation, and I’m always up for self-improvement and challenges.

So why the eye roll when the subject turned to self-acceptance?

The difficulty with self-improvement is the unspoken assumption that something is wrong with you that needs to be improved.

An interesting thing about characteristics is that, often, they are two sides of the same coin. A positive personality trait taken to extreme turns into a weakness while individuals often have the choice to address and harness weaknesses into strength. The feeling of “not good enough” is a familiar one for me. And frequently, while in my weakness column, it sneaks into the strength column under the guise of “growth mindset,” “hard worker,” and “unafraid to try new things” and serves me well…until the inevitable backlash. While I have learned to harness the self-doubting tendency, without addressing the root, my insecurities will continue to plague my soul.

You may or may not know, but I have started taking some writing courses. Oh, AND, I’ve decided to write a book. Frankly, I didn’t give this decision a whole lot of thought before making it (add impulsiveness to my weakness column), but really, of all the ways to spend my free time, writing seems to be a pretty harmless hobby. But I digress.

Anywho, I joined this writing class and had my first short story assignment. I worked super hard and thought that I had a pretty good story to submit. The structure of the course was to provide a copy of the story to the teacher and four other classmates. They each have one week to read and prepare comments on the piece, and then we go over everything together in class. W-e-l-l, they didn’t think the story was as good as I did. There were quite a few challenges on my transitions and character development. They didn’t like this or that – with improvement needed here and there. Now, let’s be clear – they also had lots of good things to say as well – clear, confident, prose. Solid sentence structure, etc. But what did I ultimately hear? “Not good enough.”

Now don’t get me wrong. I “know” I’ve only been at this for a short while. Okay – like four months (lol). But to “know” something in your head is totally different than knowing a truth in your soul.

The question I’ve been asking myself is how does one resolve the old lies with new truths? How do we grow new thought patterns and help the old die?


One of my very favorite quotes is by Dallas Willard “The most important thing in your life is not what you do; it’s who you become.”

And that’s the key – we become. Become is Begin to Be.

This whole past couple of weeks has NOTHING to do with writing or anything else “I do” and everything to do with who I am becoming…


Head:
You have to push yourself if you want to succeed. You have to keep pushing because anything is possible if you just try hard enough.

Soul:
I can work as hard as I want, but there are simply some things I’ll never accomplish. There are the easy ones to accept like “fly” and others not so easy to take but just as equally impossible like “change another human being.” Sometimes there is more to success than hard work.

Head:
I’ve tried hard and failed. Maybe I’m not cut out to be a writer.

Soul:
Seriously? Even I can see the absurdity of that thought as the words roll around inside my head. One thing that I keep getting reminded of from other writers is that the key to writing well is to write a lot. Like every day, like all the time. Dreams require perseverance, bravery, big girl panties, and time.

Head:
Self-compassion and patience will turn me into a lazy slacker. I have to keep pushing…

Soul:
Lazy will turn me into lazy. Self-compassion is what I’m doing right now…confronting the lies and patience (and grit) is what keeps me getting up and trying again.

Head:
I have to have this ALL figured out RIGHT now.

Soul:
Girlfriend. That intense, frenetic feeling you’re experiencing the last couple of weeks? It’s a sure sign that you’ve slipped into the “not good enough” cycle and you’re seeking something to “fix” you.

And on and on it can go…

To become…

The more I allow self-compassion into my mind, the more I become a person that sees herself for who she is – an individual with strengths and weaknesses – AND also an individual that is driven, wants to learn, wants to do new things and pursue dreams – but fundamentally – is already “good enough” just the way she is.


Highly recommended reading…

I’m so excited for Brené Brown’s newest book, Braving the Wilderness, to come out and wanted to share a couple of my favorites…

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

Rising Strong: How the Ability to Reset Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone

Want to start a meditation program?

I cannot emphasize how much a different meditation has made in my life this past year…here are a couple of resources I recommend to get started…

Favorite BookReal Happiness – it’s a 28-day program to get your practice jump started.

Favorite AppCalm – it’s free but you can add paid features as needed.

Me – I’m always happy to share my experiences and to help you get started! Email anytime: donnamatthews@djranch.org

Donna Matthews is a blog writer at the DJRanch where she strives to remain authentic while not taking herself too seriously. She is also the creator of Slay The Chaos (www.slaythechaos.com), where she writes about productivity and organization. She is a member of The Writers Guild and Write Space in Houston and is currently writing her first book.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge