Just Frances

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Saving strengths

This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 20th, 2013 by Frances Ryan.
Tags: stubborn, running, ocd, lists, happy, faith, ego, confession

Following up on yesterday’s post, today I am acknowledging the strengths that save me from the bitterness of my weaknesses. These are a bit more difficult to share because I always feel like others will deny these things to be present in my life (that’s the self-esteem issue I talked about yesterday!) but I have to acknowledge them in myself so that I can counter the bad things I acknowledge.

Below are five of my strengths as I recognise them. They may not be my strongest strengths in the eyes of another, but they are the things I know to be true about my being. I hope that my strengths are things that others appreciate about me, but regardless, they are things that make me feel good about myself.

I am forever hopeful (even when I’m not!)

I have never fully given up hope in my life—even when I’ve been at my darkest; even when I’ve promised myself I would. Hope lives in my soul and refuses to let go and has managed to see me through.

I admit that I have felt extremely hopeless in recent years. I admit that I’ve felt that there’s no point in trying to make life happier. I admit that I’ve wondered what the point in hope is. But despite those things, there has always been a little voice in my head that tells me it will get better. There has always been a little glimmer knowledge that today’s grief isn’t a sign of tomorrow’s failure.

This undying hope keeps me going; I don’t know where I’d be without it.

I am creative

I am pretty creative. I don't know that I'd call myself an artist, but I can certainly look at things and see a fun and interesting way to use them. I think "outside the box" and can come up with some pretty unique ideas, given the chance.

My creativity comes in the form of writing (I may not be the best writer, but I'm pretty good) but also in abstract drawings (if you count my swirls). It also comes in the form of perspective. I'm constantly looking at situations in ways that most people can't quite see. Yes, sometimes that means people think I'm weird, but quite often people are happily impressed with my ideas.

I have a great ability and desire to learn

Not to brag or anything, but I'm pretty darn clever. I admit that some scientific and numeric equations are beyond my grasp, but I can generally understand most concepts with relative ease. Obviously some things are easier than others, but I am pretty good at understanding the basic principles of most things. This means that I am able to hold conversations about all sorts of things because I understand just enough to know what questions to ask--and asking those questions means I have learned even more stuff to use in future conversations.

This great ability to learn also means that I am always eager to learn. From full-on formal academic education to teaching myself a new skill—knowledge is power and I want as much of it as I can get. Learning new things is a great way to open doors to new possibilities and opportunities. And those new possibilities and opportunities often lead to more learning. It's a wonderful cycle!

I am determined

This one could be spun as a negative trait (determination and stubbornness are very similar!) but I believe that I have enough of the positive side to make up for the bad. When I say I am going to do something, I do it. I set myself goals and I work hard to achieve them—even when doing so is a struggle. After all, if you have to struggle for something you'll appreciate it all that much more!

This determination made me enrol at university just before my 25th birthday and later helped me to gain my master's degree at 38. And now, at 39 years old, my determination has led me to being accepted to not one but three PhD programmes—one of which I hope to begin in the next few weeks.

My determination also means that I am staying as healthy as possible—despite having two major medical conditions. It means that I set physical goals like running marathonsand I cross the finish line!

But most of all, my determination means that I never give up. Even when I want to. (Thanks to my forever hopeful nature, my determination is constantly being fed!)

I love fully and completely

OK, this one has caused me a spot of grief recently, but I won’t let it stop me from loving again. I honestly believe in true love and I believe that love should be experienced with excitement and openness.

Love, to me, isn’t something you can dip in and out of, and it’s not something that should be devalued. It is the most sacred of all bonds two people can share and I honestly believe it is a gift from God. I look forward to the day when I meet someone who will love me with the same passion that I feel for them. I’ve felt that love once before, and I know it’s out there waiting for me again.

So, there you have it. Five things about me that I see as strengths. I'm sure others will have a different idea of what this list should entail (much like folks may disagree with yesterday's list) and that's OK. After all, one (wo)man's strength might be another's weakness.

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