Argue for Your Limitations

Hunter L. Thompson By Hunter L. Thompson, 28th Feb 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>Mind & Spirit>Positive Thinking

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. It is easy to argue for our own limitations or lack of abilities in order to prevent any feelings of failure. However, a sense of self-worth is dependent on taking some risks in life and being willing to be oneself is a necessity.

Personal Choices

Richard Bach made a great point in Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah when he said, “argue for your limitations and sure enough they’re yours.” Too often I’ve seen people argue that they can’t do something, they’re not good at it, etc. In this way they absolve themselves from the responsibility to learn and grow.
Of course, we all can’t perform piano recitals at Carnegie Hall, but that doesn’t mean we are incapable of playing an instrument for our own enjoyment or even for friends. The need for perfection in a skill in order to claim it as one’s own hampers the growth and enjoyment of our individual natures.
In the course of my own life, I’ve done this too many times. For example, as a teen and young adult I played several woodwind instruments such as clarinet, flute, and saxophone. However, I constantly told myself that I wasn’t that good because I only made second chair in my high school band and orchestra. Someone was better than me, so I wasn’t good enough. By the end of my sophomore year of college, I had stopped playing an instrument I’d played since I was 12.
In so many pursuits throughout my life, I’ve given up because I wasn’t the best at something I did. Someone else did it better than I, so I chose not to pursue that path. In reality, it wasn’t that I didn’t have any ability or talent, instead the thought that if someone was better than I was at something was a way to let myself off the hook of developing my talents.
Another musical example was during the summer I turned 17. I went to spend a month in Wisconsin with my former math teacher who had moved there with her husband. She also taught piano lessons to various community members, children and adults. So, for that entire month, I studied piano with her. She was amazed. In the space of a month, I finished what was normally a two-year course of piano lessons. When I left Wisconsin to return home, I did not continue with the study of piano. There I was, nearly an adult and I was only on the second year’s level of playing. Well, others were better so it was a waste of my time to continue to study.
If I couldn’t be the “best” then I wasn’t interested. The gratification for doing anything came from outside of myself. If others praised my work then it was good. If they didn’t then it was bad. I argued myself into giving up many things in my life because I didn’t measure up to someone else who did the same thing. This was a classic example of arguing for my limitations. I used words like, “I can’t” or “I’m not good enough” to allow myself to avoid the dedication and work it would take to develop a native talent. To this day, I still often live my life in this vein.
I learned from a young age that what I thought and felt wasn’t important. I was taught that only the approval of others determined my own worth. I’m sure that my mother wasn’t planning to create the monster that I’ve allowed to take over my life when she provided that example, yet it happened. For example, it was always the approval of my grandparents, other people’s parents, teachers, or the neighbors that counted much more than any internal self approval. It didn’t matter if I was happy with something I did if no one else approved of it. This has hampered my ability to develop self-confidence and skills.
To some degree, I’ve been able to let it go by disparaging the approval of others, by almost actively seeking their disapproval. In a reverse psychology type of way, I decided that if I couldn’t please them, then I’d work to displease them. Still, the onus was on the other. His or her approval or lack thereof was the deciding factor in my own acceptance of myself.
Being able to argue for my own limitations has created some ease in my life because I’ve not striven for things that I wanted. Instead, I chose to tell myself that I couldn’t do it, I wasn’t good enough, etc. It saved me from potential failure, but even more it saved me from potential success.
To walk my Tao I now need to move beyond the other-defined worth of myself. Each person must determine for himself what his own worth is and how it is determined. As we do this, we need to keep in mind that we are who we are, that we bring something unique to this world, and that that uniqueness is important to ourselves and to every other living creature, even if we don’t see it at the moment.
This is the truth into which each individual human being must live. To stand up and say “I matter.” Despite any opinions to the contrary, we each have a special contribution to our community and the world. No longer can anyone argue for their own limitations if this world is to develop and if we, as human beings, are to evolve.

Tags

Limitations, Personal Choice, Personal Responsibility, Self-Esteem, Self-Worth

Meet the author

author avatar Hunter L. Thompson
Hunter has been writing since his teens. He is a licensed acupuncturist and works in the health care field. In addition, Hunter has knowledge and skills in network administration.

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