crutches.jpgWe all have our failings, our weaknesses, our areas of greatest potential improvement. It is important to know your weaknesses so that you can guard against them, protect yourself from having them trip you up.

It is also important that you do not become an advocate for your weakness.

We often do, in part because it can serve to absolve us (at least in our own minds) of responsibility for it.

“I can’t because…”

“I would but…”

“That’s easier for them because…”

I am occasionally challenged on exercising patience. I’ve got lots of reasons and excuses why it’s not my fault, why life or so-and-so has tried my endurance beyond what mortal man should be asked to endure. But all that is irrelevant. I (me, myself, no one else) lost my (that’s me again) temper, snapped at someone, showed excessive irritation. It’s rarely a smart thing to do. Generally, it is counterproductive. And I’m responsible if I lose my temper. Period.

Arguing for my weakness, manufacturing excuses, does not help me learn to keep my temper. As a matter of fact, probably quite the opposite. Refusing to take full responsibility for my actions makes it more acceptable to lose control again the next time. Arguing that responsibility lies outside myself sets up the template for repeating the past, allowing my behavior to stay in the same old groove.

Someone I know got divorced after a long and traditional marriage. The amount and duration of alimony was a major issue. The more unemployable the ex-wife was, the longer and greater the alimony. A significant amount of effort (professional opinion) was expended to prove that it was unreasonable to expect the homemaker spouse to enter the work force.

From my vantage point, it seemed as if the ex-wife became more and more emotionally vested in her belief of her unemployability. In time, what might have been a tendency became a destiny, what might have been overcome became set in stone. And, it probably did not help her that the additional alimony served to inflict financial pain upon someone she may have felt an emotional desire to punish.

I still catch myself arguing for my weakness. I counteract it by accepting FULL responsibility AND by using open-ended, possibility language: “In the past, I have observed myself frequently choosing to do ‘X.’ I know I am capable of doing differently in the future if I so decide.”

Argue for your weakness and you limit possibility, hinder your growth, box-in your future. You are greater than you know, your possibility is vast. Consider arguing for your greatness.

P.S. Dear Reader: I’m always looking for great illustrations that create crystal clarity. If you have any good examples of “arguing for you weakness” (or any other topic I touch on in these blogs), please share.