Our challenges, in retrospect—even a day later—turn out to be interesting opportunities, don’t they?
My new job requires me to drive approximately 30 km every day, but I’ve made the most of it by listening to motivational talks on the USB drive on my journeys. Yesterday, the speaker asked us to press ‘pause’ and list down our top five strengths, such as courage or determination, and so on.
I listed a few for myself: (1) Hope and optimism (2) Resilience (3) Kindness and compassion (4) Spirituality… and then I got stuck for a fifth one. I thought about it for a long time and then had the realization that made me heave a huge sigh of release: it’s (5) Motherliness.
It’s odd to think of something like motherliness as a strength. I have, in fact, suppressed my innate maternal instinct only too often in the past two decades of my life because it makes me appear silly and sentimental. But there is a reason for my mutual attraction with babies and dogs—they see through my cool façade and know there’s a coochie coo and a tight hug just dying to burst out of me when I look at them.
I can coochie coo just about any being on earth. Dogs, babies, adults, teens. There is a reservoir of affection right here that I have to share. It’s just that I don’t do it too often. Because it’s silly.
But when I acknowledged it out loud to myself as a strength (not a weakness), it just opened me up and made a huge space in my heart. I could finally exhale after holding this knowledge deep inside all these years. Alright, so I’m motherly. God made me that way. If you have a problem with it, sue me. Coochie coo.
So anyway, the motivational talk was all about using our top five innate strengths every day in a way that would not only enrich our own lives but also add meaning to others’. Are you using yours? How much time do you invest on your strengths every day? How many lives do you touch with them every day? It’s time to do it!
The new job also requires me to work pretty late, pretty often. After working late nights for almost 10 days at a stretch, my back was sore and my mind numbed. Then, heaven sent me a break and we could go home on time. And that one evening proved to me how precious my family was. Coming home to them, buying vegetables for salad, making soup, giving pep talks to the kids, cuddling the dogs, sharing my day with hubby over a late-night walk… this is real life, this my source of strength, this is my battery recharge. As a work-from-home mother for five months, I had probably begun to take it all for granted. I hadn’t realized its value until I was starved of it. And now I shall never underestimate it again.
It takes a challenge to teach us valuable lessons. It takes a bout of darkness to appreciate the light.