Your weaknesses are your strengths

Today I wanted to tell you a story that shows how our weaknesses are our greatest strengths!

In 1986, I went to Macau, to live there with my parents and my sister. I didn’t want to go. I told my parents that I didn’t want to go. When I got there, as soon as I got off the plane and into the air of Macao, I hated everything. The smell made me sick. The level of humidity, I was always transpired, as soon as I reached the street. It made me crazy!

The first year was terrible, as people had told us. “The first year is always the worst”. It’s the adaptation year. And I just wanted that year to end.

It didn’t take me too long to adapt to Macau, to love the smells, the humidity, the heat and even … the lack of sun and the gray sky.

But that year, the worst thing was a person who bullied me. Who started chasing me, and I don’t even know why!

On the first day of Portuguese classes (or what I remember as the first), the teacher asked me to read a text. I felt so bad, I just wished that that wasn’t happening, I felt that all those people were evaluating me. I didn’t know anyone, I was afraid of everyone. I read at full speed, without stopping, I just wanted it to end. When I finished, I looked up, and the whole class was facing backwards, looking at me (I always sat in the last row…)

It was very bad, I felt super embarrassed, I didn’t even know why I made that decision, but it was done. Was that the reason he decided to bully me? Because he felt my fear, my weakness? My fear that they wouldn’t like me?

And maybe he started his campaign right there, to put me down and prove that I was worthless (or that’s how it felt). One of the things he did, after I let things pass by many times – just saying: “Please stop it. Why are you doing this?” – was to stick a sharp pencil in my neck, in history classes (where he sat behind me). I can never forget those history lessons and the fear I had, to enter the room and once more, to be attacked …

After a long time, I can’t say how much it was … was it at the end of 3 months, 6 months, a year? I don’t know, but there was a day when I couldn’t take it anymore. I no longer cared about being accepted by the “popular”. I just wanted him to leave me alone. And I didn’t care if he’d never speak to me again, if no one would ever speak to me again, I just wanted him to stop.

And on that day, when he came near me and whispered something in my hear, I don’t remember what it was, I said to him: “Shut up you $%&$%”. The whole class was there, leaning against the wall, waiting for the teacher to open the door.
He must have been surprised, he wasn’t expecting it, and he asked me: What did you say?

And I answered, loud and clear: “Shut up you $%&$%”
The varnish had cracked. Nothing interested me anymore … what the class thought, what the class thought of me, what he was going to do or not do. His opinion … I just wanted it to stop, because I couldn’t take it anymore!

What does this have to do with our greatest weaknesses being our greatest strengths?

Here’s my weakness: being afraid that people wouldn’t like me. And for that, I accepted to be treated that way, for days and months on end.

But there came a time, when it wasn’t working anymore. And it was on that day that I learned not to let people step on my feet. It was on that day that I learned … yes, I want people to like me, but if they step on my feet … goodbye, I no longer need you to accept me, I just want you to get out of my face.

Because I wanted to be accepted so badly, because I wanted so much that his acceptance, I got to a point where I couldn’t take it anymore and finally I realized: It’s good that others like us, but there are people who aren’t good for us. There are people who aren’t for us. There are people to whom we have to show our limits. There are behaviors that are unacceptable.

Until then, maybe I just liked to defend others. From then on, I started to like defending myself!

If I wasn’t willing to sacrifice my own well being for so long, to be accepted, to the point that he abused more and more and I realized that after all he wasn’t a person by whom I wanted to be accepted. I would have probably said something to someone, complained, cried and said what was going on at home. But no, what would the people in my class think of me? Was I going to put him under the carriage?

If I had not been willing to sacrifice so much to be accepted, I would never have learned this valuable lesson: Whoever is against me is not with me. And I don’t need to accept people who are not with me in my life. I don’t need to accept them, make excuses for them, or even be nice to them. I can be really unsympathetic ;)

Of course, now I can look back and see that I created this situation and all that.

But in one way or another, our “weaknesses” give us strength. They give us a different factor. They give us paths in our lives!

So what is your biggest “weakness” now?
How is that helping you, or how can that help you, if you see it as a strength?

And besides, all our “weaknesses” are showing us what to work on and what we need to accept in ourselves!

You can ask yourself: if I accepted this “weakness” 100%, how would I act differently? How would I see things differently?

Lots of love,

Calm & Powerful

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