“What do you want to fix about yourself?”
When we look at ourselves, we see so many flaws. Too thin, too large, too many bones, too many stretch marks, too morbid, too happy, too giggly, too quiet, too flirty, too standoffish, too nerdy, too stupid, too opinionated, too indecisive . . . the list continues to build as you stare at yourself, trying to figure out what to fix.
If you struggle with an illness, mental or physical, the list seems longer. Too tired, too sad, too confused, in too much pain, too broken.
It’s overwhelming to choose just one thing to fix, to choose one thing to be thankful for because there are so many things that needs to change. How do we change ourselves and at the same time, be grateful for who we are?
Understand your Strengths
I’m sure most of us struggle with this. I don’t see myself as gifted, or unusual, or strong in any way. It’s hard for me to see any quality inside myself as a strength, especially when you realize that the thing you were probably rebuked about the most as a child can be your greatest strength.
I was a stubborn kid. Like, really really stubborn. When I was five, my mom and I would argue for half an hour over my outfit, and the argument usually ended with my mom backing down. (Since then, my mom has learned to let her daughters explore fashion and figure out who they are by themselves. She says you got to pick your battles, and outfits aren’t worth the battle.) If I decide to do something, I’m going to do it, come what may. But it goes the opposite way, too. If I decide I’m not doing something, I’m not doing it. (Which still at times can get me in trouble.)
We all have strengths that can be translated into annoying or troublesome facts about yourself. For instance, I’m also really distractible. Conversations aren’t my forte, because I’m going five million places in five minutes, and I’ve already found the answer to my question and moved on to a totally different topic by the time you’ve caught up with me. Some people would find this annoying, and at times it really is. I have to work twice as hard to learn from a teacher or to listen to podcasts or sermons. But it’s also a strength because I’m able to more in a day than most people, and I’m positive it helps me with my creative and random ideas.
Identify what you want to become.
We can identify bad habits and weaknesses all day long, tearing us down until we don’t want to do anything because we’re such terrible people. How can we become anyone or anything? But instead of identifying bad habits, we need to identify the person we want to become.
What do I mean by that? It’s easy to list reasons why we can’t become who we want to become, easy to say that we are us, and that’s it. But if we want to become more like Christ, if we want to become a healthy person, if we want to be an actor, a writer, a musician, a dancer, an author, fill in the blank, we need to identify that, and act on it. Once we know, “I want to be a mentally stable person.” Or “I want to be more like Christ,” we can figure out what to fix.
The steps to becoming something or someone is slow and steady work, but it’s not impossible.
Create a path, and don’t give up.
I love lists. Lists, lists, and more lists. I have notebooks full of lists, I have lists on my computer, I have lists beside my bed. When I journal, I journal in lists. Why do I love lists so much? Because for my brain, they don’t overwhelm me. I can take all my fears, all that I know and everything that’s floating around in my head, and spit it out in a list.
A list helps me take baby steps to success and quenches the overwhelming thoughts and anxiety that keep me from taking action. But the hardest thing is sticking to the list. Because it gets boring, and missing one day can’t hurt, can it? And then you miss two days and you get discouraged, wondering if you should continue working on this.
Don’t give up. Maybe you’ll end up taking a week off. Just start back where you started, and continue working towards your final goal. Lists are there to stay, and keep you on track, even if you fall behind schedule, or struggle to stay on track.
EDIT: The new WordPress design is not being very friendly for me at the moment, and so you’re blessed with an early post. 😂