Our strengths are driven from our weaknesses. We rise stronger in one area of our lives due to the fault of another. This is how growth operates. How we change, evolve, become better versions of ourselves. Our strengths…virtues, define our character. They lead us in the direction of happiness, victory, peace. But what if our strengths can break us? What if your greatest strength can become your most fatal weakness? Is it a matter of the heart or the mind?
Hope. Determined. Courageous. Dedicated. Bravery. Passionate. Adventurous. Empathetic. Patient. Forgiveness. The list of virtues goes on and on. We each can be comprised of many strengths or maybe just a few. Some we are born with, as part of our chemical makeup, our innate personality.
Others are born from adversity, hardship, loss, pain. Some strengths I believe are “heart strengths” and others are “mind strengths.” Hope. Courage. Bravery. Passionate. Empathy. Forgiveness. Love. To me, those are virtues derived from the heart. Your core. Determination. Dedication. Adventure. Patience. Grit. Strong mind strengths. It’s either your heart informing your mind or vice versa.
So what happens when, in our life, we have difficulty drawing the line between leading with the heart or the mind? Most of my strengths are predominantly derived from my heart. Hope. Faith. Courage. Love. Those are my biggies. My governing core heart ways of life. It is why I became a mother and a teacher. I put hope and faith into my own children and those I teach. My core belief is that every person has light inside of them and the ability to shine that light on all the world. I believe that each is courageous and extraordinary, and I’m their biggest fan. I hope with all my heart. I put all of my faith into others. I am courageous with all my heart. I love with all my heart. ALL MY HEART.
Solid qualities, right? Strong emotional qualities. But here in lies my struggle…too emotional. I’ve been labeled that my entire life. “You’re too emotional.” Too much heart?? Is that a negative virtue? Maybe it can be. Maybe when you’ve put all of your hope, faith, love and courageousness into someone, and it winds up crippling you, it can feel like a detrimental flaw in your character. At what point does your strongest strengths become your worst weaknesses?
When pain is involved. When your heart is out there, courageously vulnerable, on the line..all in. And the person, the relationship, the love hurts you. Hurt you so badly, it shatters your heart. Into a million tiny fractured pieces. Your strengths are now scattered shards, bleeding all over the floor, and all you can do is crumble to floor with them. Pain causes you to question yourself, your way of being. “Maybe I shouldn’t have hoped so much, loved so much, believed in faith so much? Maybe I should get out of my heart and into my head.” My heart’s reaction to immense pain. I jump straight into my mind and draw on those “mind strengths.” ALL MIND NOW.
Struggling with the balance of both the heart and the mind. The fine line that I walk barefooted again and again. (haven’t found a shoe for this one) Pain causes you to question yourself. You no longer trust your heart instincts. You tell yourself that you were foolish. Blind. Too trusting. You begin to harden on the outside. Develop a thick skin. Build a fortress around your heart as you delicately gather the shattered shards and repair, rebuild.
My struggle is that I’m a heart person. I lead with my heart. In spite of the pain. And that is my weakness. Or is it a weakness? I don’t know. I can stay mentally tough for a while, but eventually my heart starts tugging and pulling into the lead. Your true self makes it extremely difficult for you to deny your truth. So…I hope again. I put my faith in trust again. I allow myself to be courageously vulnerable again. I love again. My mind tries its best to warn me…protect me. “Be careful,” it speaks firmly. “Step cautiously,” it warns repeatedly.
My barefooted, fine line between the heart and the mind I walk again and again as I rebuild my soul. Which is the right way to be? Which way will make you the strongest, prevent the most pain, lead you towards happiness and inner victory?
A heart person…leading with her heart. It is my truth. And so the dance continues. My strength and weakness are twin souls. I would rather feel than be hard, no matter how great the risk. So repair, rebuild, and love again. I do not know if it’s the right way. But for me, it is the only way.
Read more about vulnerability and daring greatly by the amazing, insightful Brene Brown