Analyzing our strengths, weaknesses, interests and dislikes
John Locke affirmed that our mind is a blank slate at birth, or a tabula rasa. This means that our life or the blank slate is painted by the various colors of life. As we go through the waves of life, we experience not just the highs, but also the lows. Each stage of life comes with its own challenges. We witness our achievements, celebrate our wins and experience death and heartbreak all in the span of one lifetime. The famous psychologist Victor Frankl explained the concept of “ meaning making “ in his theory of existentialism. The idea of meaning making extends to finding meaning even in the hardest of times and creating a meaningful life to gain a sense of fulfillment. I believe this is a strong trait to have that can cause us to not just lead a fulfilling life but teach us about who we want to be. At times it is easy to get consumed within the fast-paced life that we are leading that can almost feel robotic. We also get deeply influenced by those around us and our experience which can cause us to sway away from who we are or who we would like to be. Therefore, finding our strengths, weaknesses, interests and dislikes can be extremely helpful to get to know ourselves and stay secure in our own identity.
Firstly, journaling is an extremely powerful tool to get to know ourselves. It is a way we can declutter our mind, our thoughts and get to know our feelings better. However, journaling our thoughts as they come can feel overwhelming therefore using prompts can be helpful. They can look something like this ; “ What am I grateful for today ?” , “What would I like to work on?” “What are my personal goals?” . These prompts can be a great way to understand our own self , sit with our thoughts and get to know them.
Secondly, trying to build open and honest conversations with our close ones is a way to recognize our strengths and weaknesses not just within ourselves but in our relationships. Our relationships with family, friends and romantic partners have an immense influence in our life. The way we interact with the ones around us can tell a lot about our attachment styles, communication patterns, etc. These things are helpful in aiding us to recognize what we want to change about ourselves, how we want to show up for others, what we would tolerate in relationships and where to set boundaries. Having hard conversations and setting boundaries can feel overwhelming, however trying to step out of our comfort zone can also tell us about what skills we can work on and what are our weaknesses.
Thirdly, trying out different activities that we can just do with ourselves is a helpful way in understanding what we like to do, who we are when we are alone and consolidate our identity even more. Spending time with yourself is an important skill that everyone must build as it not only makes us feel more secure within ourselves but can also help us feel more confident in our company. If we do realize that spending time alone is something that makes us uncomfortable, we can explore the feeling more by sitting with it and asking ourselves what it is about being alone that makes us feel a certain way. This can also be another journal prompt to recognize our weaknesses and work on them further.
Lastly, seeking group therapy professionally or engaging in art/drama therapy are great activities to not just communicate with others but to also understand ourselves with a professional guiding us. Several groups utilize mindfulness-based techniques that can help us feel more grounded and connected to ourselves. This is a great way to open up about your strengths and weaknesses in a space where you can also relate to other people.
Always remember that being a work in progress is not a sign of weakness but a depiction of immense strength. The idea is to try and work towards a better self and be comfortable with our identity. Learning from our weaknesses, recognizing them and taking accountability for parts of ourselves that still require healing is part of the cycles that we all go through. Self-awareness is one of the strongest traits we can possess, however it requires immense patience. This process does not always look perfect therefore being kind to oneself and having a strong sense of faith in this process is the key!
By: Samah Nanda
Mental Health Counseling Intern