Many of us spent January looking at what we need to improve about ourselves. It can be a real downer to take the "inventory" of our flaws. Too many pounds, a bulge here and a flab there. Gray hair, maybe balding. Wrinkles!
We resolve not to smoke, overeat, or vegetate. Time to take a walk, ride a bike, buy a ski machine.
It's a good thing to recognize that we have flaws, weaknesses and bad habits. It's a good thing to resolve to improve and take action on that resolve.
It is as important to know where we excel as it is to admit our failures. And, sometimes the two merge.
Once we do all that, it is also important to recognize our strengths and give ourselves some credit. It is as important to know where we excel as it is to admit our failures. And, sometimes the two merge.
When we finally stop with the French fries and join the gym, it is time to stop thinking about ourselves as couch potatoes. Our fit person has appeared, however gingerly. We need to think of ourselves as becoming fit, see what we are becoming, speak positively about our progress and hear what we say about ourselves. We encourage ourselves to keep up the good work.
Just as important is recognizing our own innate strengths. Each of us comes with a God-given gift. We need to be grateful for that gift - or gifts - if we are fortunate enough to have more than one. We need to nurture and put any gift to good use. It is more than just okay to recognize our own gift; it is crucial.
If we pay too much attention to our flaws and too little to our gift, we slip out of balance. We can even forget our purpose, our destiny. Focusing on negatives saps our energy, diverts our attention, limits our potential. Once we feel good about who we are and what we are doing, that happiness is the milieu for being able to make the contribution we were born to make.
I believe it is the responsibility of each one of us to seek, find and encourage the gifts we find in others as diligently as we seek, find and develop the gift within ourselves. To do that, we have to move past the flaws we recognize in others and in ourselves. Whether we move on by improving or by accepting, once we focus on sharing our gifts, we shed our own chains and begin to live the life we are here to live.
Jean Loxley-Barnard has been a writer all her life and studied both sociology and psychology at George Washington University where she earned a B.A. Her company, The Shopper, Inc., encompasses all the Loxley-Barnard family publications - The Shopper Magazines and Doctor to Doctor Magazine. She has been in the advertising, consulting and publishing business for 39 years.
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