I haven’t written prose here for a long time. But today seems to be the day that I break the rule of simply writing poetry down here. The issue that I am confronted with today, seemed too big to write poetry about. I’m sure I will someday, but right now I thought that it might be good to do some prose about it.
I’ve always been unapologetically myself. Not because I’m this great guru for authenticity but basically since I know no other way, and honestly, I do apologize sometimes for being me– I do have insecurities, and probably the times that I don’t it’s probably simply cause I’m rude and I had no idea that something I did was a problem.
Today I’ve been looking into ‘my core strengths’ In the area of positive psychology there is the idea that there are 24 character strengths and each of us has them in various gradations. The strengths range from honesty and bravery to spirituality and perspective. If you take a test at Viacharacter.org they will organize your strengths in an order that should be true to your character strength- the top ones being at your core.
I took the test ages ago and so I looked up the result and found myself disappointed. At the number one — it said ‘creativity’. And I felt frustrated and haunted– thinking of all the time that I felt so uncreative, uninspired, wanted to hide away from all the great achievements others seemed to pursue almost effortlessly, with amazing results. My first thought: yes, people always mention creativity as my core strength- but you know what? I suck at it!. I have so many more failed projects than working projects. This idea reminds me of a friend saying: almost every night I go to sleep very quickly so I don’t have to think about what terrible (impulsive) things I’ve done that day. In that sense, my creativity feels more like a thing that I can’t help but do than something I’m truly proud of. So much of the creativity is connected to vulnerability and failure and for that reason shame.
I think that core strengths when you are in a state of mild or less mild depression can be very complicated to review. Because I guess while you are in a state of unhappiness, you don’t necessarily lose your core strengths, you simply link them to very difficult experiences. And for me at least, even though when I’m doing well I enjoy my core strengths, they seem a source of trouble and unhappiness when I feel down. They also to me feel sad because they feel so very far away as if I am reading about who I used to be, and not who I am now.
In the course, I was following the core strengths were described as those things that give energy rather than take it away, and those who are fueled by a fire within rather than some outside encouragement. How does it feel when the fire is low? How do you go on then? I find myself still expressing the core strengths in one way or another, but they come less naturally- I’m still creative, I still have a strong sense of perspective, appreciation of beauty and I am brave, honest and curious. I still use these strengths to continue my journey when everything seems to be gray. And perhaps this season I will discover the true value of my core character strengths. I might not be my own biggest fan right now, but I can try to recognize the way these strengths are still functioning even when I’m so frustrated with all that is going on.
I wonder what your experiences are with all of this!