DailyBlog: What is your greatest strength and your greatest weakness?

*** The first three books in my six-part dystopian series have officially made their way out into the world! Check them out!
For the sake of blogging, self-exploration, and contemplation, I’ve been slowly making my way through answering questions from this list

Today’s Question: What is your greatest strength and your greatest weakness?

Let’s start with my greatest weakness. I’m not resilient. I’m extremely empathic and sensitive. In an ideal world that would probably be considered a gift, but in a world like ours it makes every day a unique struggle. I notice every shift in a person’s tone, every twitch of their eyes, every tiny judgment. I know what’s going on with people far more than they realize, and in order to be professional and socially accepted, I often have to pretend that I don’t notice. I used to argue with myself over my own perceptive nature. “Just because that person is giving off weird vibes is no reason to stop trusting them. They haven’t ACTUALLY done or said anything to deserve that…” but I’ve learned the hard way that if I feel that I can’t trust someone, I NEED TO PAY ATTENTION TO MY GUT. It’s literally never wrong. It’s a difficult level of perception to explain and describe. Sometimes it’s a shift in how a person speaks to you, the difference between them respecting you as an equal and ‘handling’ you. Sometimes it’s a person suddenly being evasive in how they speak to you. Sometimes the shifts are more subtle, but nonetheless undeniable. I feel like life would be far simpler if I was oblivious to these things. If I didn’t notice the fresh condescension in someone’s tone, if I didn’t feel when someone walks into a room as a literal ball of stress. I involuntarily seem to absorb the emotions of those around me and feeling that much all of the time is absolutely exhausting. About twice a month, I have to have a ‘check-out’ day where I don’t see or talk to anyone, I don’t even leave my home. Like a battery, I need to completely disconnect and recharge.
When I get hurt, it cuts extremely deep and I really don’t heal from it. I just have to learn to adapt and live with it and still manage to find joy. I wish that I was stronger. I wish that when something breaks me, I could actually put myself back together in the way that other people seem to be able to. Instead I just have to learn to avoid stepping on the broken glass.

What is my greatest strength? That’s a difficult question to answer. It’s not that I think too little of myself or that I don’t have strengths or aspects of myself that I’m proud of, but I don’t really know what strength I would consider to be my ‘greatest.’ I’m able to express myself honestly and in detail through the written word and that’s not a skill that everyone has. I write novels. Not everyone can do that and do it well. I’m not saying I’m an incredibly amazing novelist, but I’m proud of the books that I’ve written and published. I’m proud of myself for declaring that I would someday be an author when I was ten years old, and persevering enough to realize and fulfilling that dream.

I’m a kind person. I’m a respectful person. When I make a mistake, I’m able to accept accountability for that mistake and I’m able to say that I’m sorry. Its awful when people hurt you, but what makes it ten times worse for me is when they’re not at all sorry. When they don’t even care enough about you to care that they hurt you. No feeling is worse than the utter helplessness of feeling like you’re not even worth someone’s apology, and no matter what mistakes I make, I will ALWAYS listen when someone says that I’ve hurt them, I will always care, and I will always give them the sincere apology that they deserve.

I’m compassionate. I’m able to turn negatives into positives. For example, I think of the most cruel people that I’ve ever been victimized by in the past, and because I don’t really “heal” from being hurt, I cope by swearing to myself that I will NEVER do to anyone what those people did to me. I will NEVER make an excuse to myself to treat someone like garbage. I will NEVER kick a person when they’re down, no matter what they’ve done to me or how they’ve offended me. If I don’t have something nice to say, then I don’t say anything at all. Again, I’ve made mistakes, but I really sincerely hope that the apologies that I’ve given to those people have helped them find peace and that I’m not someone that another person has to overcome in order to be healthy and whole. I honestly believe the worst way that you can hurt someone is to not be sorry that you’ve hurt them in the first place.

So maybe that’s my greatest strength. Maybe living by a moral code of embracing my compassion for others when I’ve been shown so little in my past is a strength when it would probably be a lot easier to become as uncaring toward others as they have been to me. It seems to be a common cycle, even if I don’t understand it.

On a final note, I realize this entry got a bit grim. I don’t want to give off the impression that no one has ever, or is ever kind to me. That’s not true at all. I am so thankful for those who have been kind in the past, and are kind in the present. Sometimes it just takes one rose in a garden of cactuses to remind you to keep going, to keep trying, and to keep caring.

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