(This article was written by Gladys, our intern at Kingmaker! Her StrengthsFinder® talent themes makes her a Hands-on, People-Centric Bicultural Practitioner who values challenges and provocative thinking. She is passionate about learning the diversity of cultures.)
This is an open letter to my past self, and a letter of advice for anyone who’s going through a similar phase that I went through. This is a reminder to my future self, that I’m perfectly good the way I am, and that I don’t have to envy other people.
“Sometimes, I can hear my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living.” — Thomas Schell Sr., Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Most people are like me. As a teenager, male or female alike, I always feel like I’m not good enough. It always feels as though people’s expectations of me are so high, so unattainable and so unrealistic. They think that I’m great, capable and talented. But I know that I’m not. And I mean it.
Meanwhile there’s always the other girls in class. They’re smart, pretty and popular. They can effortlessly come up with creative ideas that I could never think of. They can effortlessly make people like them and charm strangers they’ve never met before in the matter of seconds.
But me? I was never like that, and I felt that I never will be. It feels horrible to know that even when you try your hardest, you’ll still lose out to people that are just naturally……talented.
And because of that, I envied people.
After I got to know StrengthsFinder, however, I’ve started to understand a bit more about why they could do things I couldn’t. The “popular” girls probably had the talent theme Woo, that’s why they were able to charm people so naturally and effortlessly. The “creative” girls probably had the talent theme Ideation, that’s why they were able to constantly come up with such amazing and innovative ideas.
Even though I understood all of that, I still struggled to see that I was talented.
I mean look at me! I was plain. My Woo stands at 22, my Ideation at 23, and all the other talent themes that I thought was “ideal” were 20 and below (my supporting or lesser talent themes).
I was at the phase of my teenage life where I was constantly doubting myself, envying others and thinking that I was unable to achieve what they could because I wasn’t like them. I didn’t have those talent themes.
It was an arduous journey filled with self-doubt and anxiety.
But guess what?
I overcame it all.
Even though I didn’t have the talent themes I’ve envied, but my talent themes were able to compensate for my lesser themes and weakness (most of the time). I thought I couldn’t achieve the things I wanted but, I could! And I did so in a kick-ass Gladys style that was copyrighted and original!
Ideation, for example. Even though I was unable to pull out ideas from thin air and perform magic, I was able to play on my own strengths, Input (my number 5 talent theme), and re-invent old ideas to become brand new ideas that value-added to discussion the way I wanted it to!
If I could go back in time, I would want to tell myself, and everyone going through the same phase as me, to have more confidence in yourself. You can do it; and all you need to do, is to pluck up that one second of courage and JUST DO IT. It’s fine even if you don’t have the supposed talent themes to help. Your own uniqueness will step in to help.
I mean, it’s been *inserts your age* years, and you’re still doing fine in life!
Pluck that little courage, and see that you can do it too! Don’t underestimate your own abilities, you’re good.
As tumblr aptly puts it:
“Just be yourself; everyone is already taken.”
Here’s to StrengthsFinder, that helped me see my own uniqueness.