Here is a truth that is undeniable. God gave us weakness. If we didn't have weakness we would be an arrogant, power thirsty, group of humans who only found a form of satisfaction in working ourselves to the bone just to constantly raise ourselves above others.
I mean even with weakness as part of the human condition we find ourselves in situations like this at times. Bullying is still very much a part of our lives. Adult peer pressure is a big issue. Imposter syndrome is at an epidemic level. No one is willing to really show their vulnerability because we have been conditioned to not be weak. I mean kids hurt themselves in sports and their coach and parents even say "get up it's not that bad and get back out there."
Kids learn to dress like the popular kids or act like the popular kids but who decides who's popular and who decides who is the one every one follows. It's hard on both sides. Many of the people I work with were the popular kid or the strong kid or the smart kid and they learned to hide their own insecurities. It seems like everyone is hiding. Women wear black to hide the extra pounds they have on their body because they gave birth to a beautiful child. They don't even like black. Men and women learn to hide their sense of anxiety in the face of struggle worried that they will show their weakness and be ridiculed or shamed and fail.
It is important to stop and ask ourselves, am I deeply happy? Am I able to enjoy the simple things in life? Am I able to celebrate the accomplishments of others?
As part of my business Honesty Academy, I have had the privilege to mentor and guide very high powered leaders in business. These men and women are CEO's, successful entrepreneurs, doctors, attorneys, professors...here is what I have found as I have worked with these high powered leaders, once they reach the pinnacle of success and they look around to find their joy, more times than not, they come up short when it comes to experiencing the deep joy they thought was on the other side of the mountain of success they were climbing.
Why? The question is why do we find no joy in this kind of success. Why are we so afraid of weakness and struggle? When did that happen in our journey? STRUGGLE IS PART OF LIFE. WEAKNESS LEADS US TO BEAUTIFUL AND DESERVING STRENGTH.
God teaches us that weakness leads to humility and humility leads to recognizing a higher being who loves us and wants us to feel joy. We are here that we might find joy not that we might have a huge bank account. Don't get me wrong, being affluent is absolutely a wonderful goal but it is a by product of living a balanced focused honest life. If you know me at all you know that I teach that personal honesty is at the root of all happiness and prosperity. The real lasting kind. When we are doing what we love to do we will feel wealthy. We will have all that we need; Physically, mentally, socially, spiritually and financially. We don't have to have all the dollars in the world. There is enough to go around.
Some of the most balanced, happy and contented people I have met live in seemingly poverty ridden environments. I lived in the poorest parts of Argentina. I moved there after living a very affluent lifestyle. I was mortified to say the least when I saw the conditions these families lived in. But as I came to know them my eyes were opened to the fact that they were deeply happy. They focused on the here and now. They celebrated a sunny day. They celebrated with each other over a baby walking or a child learning to read. They helped each other tend their gardens and cook their meals. They shared their resources and helped each other build mud ovens and then shared the bread that they cooked within. They gave of their small wealth to those who came to visit. I had never in my life seen such humility and love. I was a stranger when I came to them but I left feeling like family and like I was important and I mattered deeply to them. They were not ashamed of their lack. They were more concerned about friendship and love and acceptance.
I often find myself looking back on those years I spent in the midst of those wonderful people. Still to this day, I feel a longing to go back there. THERE where there were no indoor toilets, no running water, no hot showers, no electricity at all but what they did have in abundance was love.
To all of us, we see this as weakness as we compare their lifestyles with our own. How many times do we not want someone to visit because our homes are not furnished like the rich and famous or we are not looking our best? The worry of what others will think if they see the honesty in which we live or think or act...trumps the need to show real love and care for one another. Taking our own needs out of the picture and caring for another is almost unheard of and sadly is a key to real lasting happiness.
Let me share with you some of my own experiences. When I was a young woman I started my first business. I was still in college and had an opportunity to start my own fashion production company. It was kind of a dream come true. Girls dream of the life I was able to live at such a young age. I had contacts from all over the fashion world and I worked with some of the largest malls and trend setting companies. I had it made. But what dawned on me was that I was really not happy. I am grateful that I was self aware enough to stop and evaluate how I really felt. When I decided to shut down my business and leave the country to serve the people in Argentina, I encountered opinions that I wasn't prepared for. Things were said such as: How could I be so irresponsible with my opportunities to let this go? I had it all. Why would I ever think to give it up to go live in a third world country? Had I lost my mind?
Trust me. I had moments of insecurities because these were people I respected but I knew I had to be true to myself. Maybe it was my youth. Maybe it was my naïveté. Maybe I was foolish. But it was my decision not theirs. It took a huge amount of inner strength. I was afraid. I didn't speak the language. I was going into the unknown but this was not because of someone else's decision. This was my own with the nudging from my God. And it made all the difference in the world to the rest of my life.
I faced fears. I faced weakness. I faced ridicule. I faced the unknown. I came out on the other side stronger. More confident in my own decisions and my own mindset. I no longer made decisions according to what others thought. I knew that this was right. I was a happier more complete individual at the end of this experience.
How many of us follow in the footsteps of our parents or teachers or peers because we are afraid of our own weakness or afraid to make mistakes?
So we live our lives according to the expectations of others and never give ourselves the chance to look at our own unique journey. Or we do, for a minute, but we only see our short comings or weakness and we don't allow ourselves to feel the fear and jump in anyway. So we continue moving through our lives not feeling completely authentic to our own unique path. We complain. We put others down who find the strength to create something different than the status quo.
Weak things become strong when we stop, humble ourselves enough to be submissive to the unknown. But is it the unknown? I have found that it isn't unknown to that greater being who created us. He is the master creator. Have you ever stopped and just asked Him for wisdom on what to do next with your life? It is scary and liberating....and worth it.
If your insides don't match your outsides, if you are pretending and have been pretending for a long time, it will manifest itself in ways that are not desirable. A seemingly righteous man surprisingly has an affair. A seemingly shy kind woman ends up harming a child, a seemingly happy go lucky likable kid commits suicide. This can be eliminated when we are honest with ourselves and we make sure that what we are and feel on the inside, receives the needed attention and we begin the work to develop the strength needed to show it on the outside. Whether it is beautiful or ugly, if it is honest then it is important. When we share our own weakness we find our people. If we are pretending to be something we are not we can't find where we belong.
We always belong to God. Always, but we have to stop and take inventory of what we believe. Do you believe you belong? Do you understand that everyone is struggling whether they show it or not?
When we come to this knowledge, we become more patient with each other. When I am focused on being more honest with my own struggles I don't have time or the desire to point out the struggles of others. But, on the flip side when I am aware of my struggles and I feel loved when someone offers a hand, guess what, I want to do the same and pay it forward because it feels better than putting others down to make myself feel less small.
Weakness is a human condition that is necessary to create more love and humility and acceptance.
I hope these thoughts are helpful to anyone who is struggling to find their own joy. Reach out. I'm here. If I don't have an answer we will find it together. Don't go one more day living as an imposter. because you are afraid of weakness. Step out into your own unique beauty and your own unique brand of joy and then share it!!
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