She is now 23 years old and philosophical. She is balancing her millennial wanderlust against the pursuit of a university degree in Philosophy. To her credit, she persists in her schooling despite her longing for adventure, albeit in a more circuitous fashion than most. (She takes semesters off to save money.)
Of course, you have to know this girl. The third grade teacher once moved my niece closer to her desk because my niece talked incessantly to her elementary classroom neighbors. The teacher complained that the talking was now distracting her from teaching!
All her parents and I could do was laugh. My niece is gregarious, curious, and ultimately attracted to all kinds of people, places, and experiences. She is the personification of the Sound of Music’s Maria: How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?
As a result of her propensity towards philosophy and philanthropy (without the benefit of having money), my niece is uncertain of what future job suits her. Maybe, for her, the confusion stems from a collision between traditional ideals and the infinite possibilities of a wild new world. Whatever her angst, we had a great conversation on the phone recently, and it helped me to put a few things in perspective, too.
She had a memorable dream and wanted me to help interpret it. Since completing my Martha Beck Life Coach Training, that is one of my favorite things to do, dream interpretation, not because it’s woo-woo but because it takes dream symbols and relates them to real life through a series of questions. Since sleep allows unconscious processing of our thoughts, it stands to reason that interpreting dreams can give insight into our deeper selves.
In the dream, her deceased grandfather had given her a locket with a perpetual moving pendulum that radiated light and energy outwards. After our discussion about what the dream might mean, we came up with the following:
What if the energy and light that radiated out towards many things was really a gift? What if her diverse attention and interests were super powers and not a detriment? What if her path toward the traditional felt too confining for all that light and energy that touched so much at once? How could she embrace this trait as a good thing rather than the personality trait that held her back?
She said she liked our conclusion.
I did, too.
I couldn’t help but feel buoyed by our conversation, probably because it applied to me, too.
As some of you know, I have been writing a book. My first book will be published on Amazon on September 1st. Throughout this journey, I have come face to face with some of my own characteristics that have, in my opinion, been made out to be bad.
It might be a long, sad story, but primarily, I have a great propensity to understand and follow a process with great precision. Call it perfectionism, anxiety, or both.
I also have a distinct aversion to being ‘difficult’, meaning it’s hard for me to speak up because I like to give the person I’m working with the benefit of the doubt or I become intimidated and let my needs slide. It can make for rough circumstances sometimes.
Working with a managing editor requires a lot of patience! It’s safe to assume that all boxes will be checked, formatting will be complete and the end result will be publication. However, there have been bumps for me along the way. For example, there was an unexpected glitch with the cover. I didn’t know it because my editor is my intermediary with the cover designer, and my project sat in limbo as a result of a misunderstanding. I was deemed “difficult” and “picky” as a result of behind-the-scenes conversations not involving me.
I felt bad that I was branded this way.
Luckily, the situation was rectified quickly and all was well, but I wondered if maybe I was being difficult. I started to temper my questions to and my interactions with the editor.
But, that night when I talked with my niece reminded me that our perceived pitfalls are really our super powers.
Someone’s version of me being picky and difficult is really just me fulfilling deadlines, expecting the same in-kind and requesting updates when dates and deadlines are shifted. The personality trait associated with picky and difficult is also vigilance and responsibility, which are great things to be when you have looming deadlines and are working with others.
I’ll admit there were times I felt bad about being picky and difficult. But this was my first book, I had invested handsomely, and I was told frequently to be sure to ask for what I needed to ensure success.
Like my niece in the face of tradition, my personality with this publishing process was making me feel bad about a very positive part of my personality.
I offer this to all of us today: What personal characteristic evokes shame and makes you feel bad?
I invite you to turn it around.
What makes this characteristic an asset for you?
I promise you, your seemingly worst personality trait is actually a super power.
My son would probably say I talk too much. My dad did, too. But, I can tell you I never feel alone, and I am always happy to meet a new friend.
Next time you chide yourself for being too __________, turn it around and be grateful that this is part of who you are.
This world has room for all people and their quirky traits.
Even my husband’s weird habit of cleaning up after all of us.…
Now, where did that recipe go?
I swear, once I find it I will show you that it’s made up of super foods to match your super powers!
The Busy Buddha
TRY RECIPE HERE!
How are these traits your super powers?