Healing and StrengthFinder
When you are wrestling with an illness, it can be very tiresome to continue on-and-on on to work on the problem. What if we focus on healing by cultivating our strengths and tapping into our natural resources instead of focusing on the problem or what is broken?
“From the cradle to the cubicle (and to our death beds!), we devote more time to our shortcomings than to our strengths.”. – Tom Rath “StrengthFinder”
Our society has always focused on the negative – the news informs us of the problems the world faces, school teachers and tutors focus on the classes we are not as good in, and parents can be quick to correct bad behavior. In the book, StrengthFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath, we become aware of how standard education encourages us to be good at everything and focus our efforts on our weaknesses. When we struggle and get a B – in chemistry and yet, get an easy A+ in English without studying, there is no fanfare of our natural brilliance in literature. Instead, the focus of parents, tutoring, and after-school activities is on improving chemistry! Unfortunately, this strategy only gives the child the impression that they are not enough.
StrengthFinder Flips the Priorities
But what if we turned the focus around? Instead of focusing on creating some improvement in those areas that we are not naturally good at, we instead focus on our natural talents? It’s not that we entirely ignore our weaknesses. Instead, we dedicate enough time to manage those not so favorable areas to keep us out of trouble (we need to know how to add and subtract so we can manage our money, but it’s really not necessary to be good at algebra or calculus to manage our lives) and dedicate tutoring and extracurricular activities on those subjects we show natural talent and interest. It would actually increase our confidence, motivation, happiness, and satisfaction.
Cultivating our Strengths
Cultivating our strengths is not just about having natural talents in an area. It’s also about building upon those talents. Building upon your strengths requires investing time to practice, develop skills in that area, and building our knowledge about the subject. Fortunately, it’s never too late to start.
Healing Through Cultivating Our Strengths
While it doesn’t seem obvious, putting attention on our strengths is actually good for our health and healing. How?
How Living by ‘Standard Education Principals’ can Make Us Sick.
When we grow up learning to work harder on our weaknesses, do things we don’t like because we should, learn to ‘fake it’ in tests and classrooms, etc., we end up taking those behaviors into adulthood. We get jobs, not because we are good at them, but because they pay well. We blame ourselves for our inability to do certain tasks well and end up hating ourselves. All this struggle leads to burnout, self-judgment, depression, and stress—all factors in developing chronic disease.
How can cultivating our strengths help us heal?
When we learn to focus on our natural abilities instead of doing everything, we express our authentic natural way of being. Working in jobs that allow us to utilize and even build up our strengths is deeply satisfying. We develop a natural pride in our skills and cultivate self-love. Time at work flies when we are in the flow, and the work energizes us, leading to more activities after work. Focusing on strengths, cultivating them, expressing them, and developing them elevates satisfaction, happiness, and quality of life—all factors in healing and health.
How to Discover Your Strengths and Talents?
How do we begin to change our focus and move towards expressing and living more authentically through our strengths? Fortunately, strengths can become very evident once we begin to focus on them. They are thoughts and behaviors that we find deeply satisfying and enjoyable any time we get a chance to do them. Time flies is another indicator. Being in the flow another. Anytime we learn something about these fields, behaviors, and ways of thinking or socializing, we find that we learn quickly and want to put them into practice immediately. Also, another indicator is that we seem to keep coming back to them. Note: An indicator is not that we find time for them (remember we learned not to dedicate time to the things we are naturally good at), but we do seem to gravitate towards shows, books, crafts, and people with everything to do with that strength.
Taking the StengthFinder 2.0 Test
Another way that reveals surprising behaviors that we never realized could be considered a strength (because we don’t realize not everyone can!) is by taking the StrengthFinder 2.0 Test. It can be taken directly from the Gallup Institute or the individual code at the back of the book StrengthFinder 2.0 (as of February 2021, the book is $16.95 on Amazon, not an expensive way to discover more about your authentic self!).
In the image below, you can find the strengths, called themes, the test reveals. You can find descriptions for each of these strengths on their website.
Healing By Using Your Strengths
Now, start to think about ways to use your natural talents more and even strengthen them. You also want to find ways to delegate or perhaps trade those you are not naturally talented in. For myself, I will gladly help a friend organize their garage (my strength) in exchange for them building my new IKEA bookcase!! You will feel more energized, motivated, stronger, and happier. Your body will thank you!