Identifying personal strengths and weaknesses far from easy

The process of writing can be overwhelming and frightening.
Photo Credit: Hailey Basner
The process of writing can be overwhelming and frightening. Photo Credit: Hailey Basner
Even after looking through Tumblr for inspiration, it was still difficult to pinpoint my strengths and weaknesses.
Photo Credit: Hailey Basner

“Write about a time when you had to discover your strength and/or weakness.”

The above statement was one of my most recent writing prompts for my AP Language and Composition class. Typically, I could look at a writing prompt and think of a great story to write right off the bat. This time was different. There was a component about this writing prompt that stood out to me, but I could not place my finger on it.

I then proceeded to look at quotes I bookmarked on Tumblr for inspiration. Strangely enough, that didn’t help either. I stared at the board until the time was up, and felt foolish after because I had not written anything in 15 minutes. My mind was not going haywire with ideas. In fact, it was completely blank.

Later that same day, I realized that as humans, it is hard to just simply admit our strengths and/or weaknesses. Sure, it’s easy to say what we are good at doing, but we have a hard time admitting what an actual strength is.

[vision_pullquote style=”1″ align=””] As a modest human being, I refrain from giving away my strengths, because it would be more fulfilling for others to figure them out themselves. [/vision_pullquote]Think about it–admitting a strength would be the equivalent of bragging. On the other hand, admitting a weakness is the same as making yourself seem any less of a person. Even when I had figured out why I didn’t respond to the topic, I still could not think of my actual strengths and weaknesses, because every time I thought, all I came up with were flaws and qualities.

I thought: Well, I get breakouts when I’m stressed, and I stress out a lot. So, I guess I’m always breaking out, then (FLAW). But, I have a good sense of style. Oh, wait, I have to wear scrubs four out of five days of the week, so I look less than stellar every day (FLAW). Hey! I have nice nails. Yeah, I have nice nails (ATTRIBUTION). There’s my strength.

The problem is that (cosmetic, and completely petty) attributions have nothing to do with your actual strengths as a person. A strength is if you act well under pressure, or you know how to react to a rude customer at work, or you know how to change six diapers at the same time. Weaknesses are different from flaws. For instance, some weaknesses are if you procrastinate, and then end up not doing your work, or you use derogatory language at inappropriate times, or you forget to say hello when you walk into your home.

As a modest human being, I refrain from giving away my strengths, because it would be more fulfilling for others to figure them out themselves. On the other hand, if I was put in a position to tell someone my weaknesses, I wouldn’t want to look like I think of myself in a low way. I view strengths and weaknesses as if they are a double-edged sword.

I guess, because of this, page 15 of my journal will forever remain blank.