I did something I’m not proud of.
Fortunately, Trybal has taught me to look for the lesson in everything, so I discovered something about Strengths. Here’s what happened:
It’s yesterday. I’m scrolling through Instagram on a little work break, and I notice a fashion icon I follow had gotten some work done on her face. Like, work. I scroll through the comments to see if anyone commented about it.
Yep. I’m not the only one thinking it.
I see someone’s posted about it, so I decide that’s a good reason for me to post also. I write, “Face surgery…”
About a minute later, I return to my comment to delete it, realizing it was impulsive and unkind, but I see I am already blocked from viewing her profile.
I squirm inside. Uh oh.
I am one of those people.
I sit for a moment and feel really awful. Rosanna, get a grip. You’re a grown woman. Why would you be rude and snarky in a public forum about anyone?
And then I observe it.
It comes subtly but powerfully.
“Am I a good person?”
I know the question pretty well. I just wrote a curriculum with my colleagues that contained and explained that exact question. Stuck in the moment, I struggled with my identity and what I think about who I am.
My top five Strengths are Achiever, Belief, Responsibility, Activator, Woo.
In the moment I made that unnecessary comment, I can tell you my Strengths were showing up on their dark sides. My Activator was impulsive - I acted quickly without thinking. My Belief was judgmental - how superficial, I thought. After the fact, my Responsibility was heavy and guilty. What have I done?
Now, from what I’ve learned about the Sophistication of our Strengths - that it’s like “…dancing with one’s own imperfections”, I decided to dance.
Awareness and recovery. Awareness and recovery. Awareness and recovery.
Like a waltz!
Getting cognizant of how my Strengths were showing up unsophisticated was the first step, and the next step was to recover through action.
I went back to the woman’s profile. I sent her a message to apologize, acknowledging I was rude and wished her well.
Rather than falling too deep into a rabbit hole of thinking I am not a good person, I recognized it as one of the three questions that shake up how we feel about ourselves when something goes wrong. At Trybal, we call them Identity Concerns (the other two are: Am I competent? Am I worthy of love?).
The truth is, these Identity Concerns are distractions. You and I are always competent and good and worthy of love, we’re just a little unsophisticated in our Strengths at times.
Knowing that each of our Strengths, what makes us most extraordinary, comes with an accompanying dark side, takes the edge off expecting ourselves to be perfect. It also makes it a lot more safe to talk about, knowing our weaknesses aren’t analogous to our worth.
It doesn’t mean there’s an excuse to be reckless and make unnecessary comments about people’s plastic surgery, but there is definitely room to dance. To take a step, to stumble, to even fall sometimes, and to try again to be better next time.
So how are your Strengths going? Are their Dark Sides showing their head and what actions are you taking to recover?
Build the self-awareness you need to recover and clean it up.