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Saturday, June 25, 2016

Our Weakness Can be a Strength



Over the past 10 years my weaknesses have held daily meetings to discuss how best to torment and torture me.

Worry, anxiety and fear chaired this committee - they read the minutes of the last meeting on how to provide worry, anxiety and fear into my life - then they read the agenda for the next meeting which was how best to provide worry, anxiety and fear into my life.

And I let these meetings occur, in fact, I facilitated their ability to meet. I provided room for their meetings.

And then I stopped. With a lot of help, I stopped.

Like some cosmic exterminator I wiped them out. "I gave them room no more" to torment and torture me. It required an intervention from a good friend who noticed I was struggling, she suggested a therapist  named Valerie Dimick. I agreed to go, but I had to be convinced it was possible to live without worry, anxiety and fear. After all, they had been my go to guys...they were familiar. It was going to take a lot to teach me how to live without them.

Because of her the meetings in my head started to change.

Long ago my husband and I built a house. We were warned this would not go well, that couples fought and even separated over the building of a house. I knew one woman who divorced her husband and ran off with the contractor! But we didn't have personal problems when we built the house. We focused on building the house. It was a great way to tackle such a huge project but we did it unconsciously. We built the house with faith...faith that although we really didn't have the expertise to do this project, we would do our best and trust it would work out. Without question we made a lot of mistakes. For instance we forgot to order interior doors for the entire house, but it worked out mainly because we never considered it wouldn't.  We moved into our home on time and I didn't realize it at the time but as we built the house we were being taught a valuable pattern. We didn't focus on each other weaknesses, we focused on building a house. I was too busy, or too young to realize what was being taught. A pattern of focusing on the big picture and not on the minute to minute minutia that is a part of everyone's day.

Because I was unaware of what was being taught, I followed a different pattern with some very negative outcomes when faced with another big event in my life. Although I had been shown a pattern for getting through hard times I didn't use them. My fear paralyzed me.

When the recession in 2007 hit all my basic fears emerged. An entire childhood of abandonment issues came to light. Safety concerns hit me from every direction and I became the most worried, most anxious, most fearful person you would ever meet.

But when Valerie gave me tools to combat the daily and sometimes, hourly, attacks my mind would conjure up, I started to get better. The meetings in my head began to have a different tone. The agenda at the new meetings began with thoughts are not real. When I would think all is lost, there is no hto lose everything I would stop and literally say to myself "that thought is not true, because thoughts are not real." It's all choice isn't it? After all I had gone through far worse things in my life. But for some reason complete financial ruin was my Waterloo. I saw no way out...no possible remedy of any kind.To explain hopelessness is impossible. I can't. But looking back now I do see that my problem was where I placed the focus...entirely on me. MY life is a mess, MY life shouldn't have turned out this way, MY life....MY life....MY life. When we focus on ourselves, of course, we will be depressed.

Weaknesses are part of our DNA. That is very simple. But here is the best part, those weaknesses can be our best friend. Weaknesses can be made strengths. I know God gave us weakness in order for us to overcome them. Not to punish us....but to give us strength.

Here is the best quote ever on strengths and weaknesses I have read. It is by Thomas S. Monson

"God Left us the world unfinished for man to work his skill upon. He left the electricity in the cloud, the oil in the earth. He left the rivers unbridged and the forests unfelled and the cities unbuilt. God gives to man the challenge of raw materials, not the ease of unfinished things. He leaves the pictures unpainted and the music unsung and the problems unsolved, that man might know the joys and glories of creation." 

Part of my weakness is worry, anxiety and fear....but I have a determination to combat it and make it a strength. The meetings in my head are far more positive now. I still have to reframe a lot of situations in my life. I remind myself that God wants me to be a success and that the end result of anything I do will be positive. Maybe just the confession of my path will comfort someone who thinks they are alone with weakness. And when you feel that way it is easy to stay miserable. Accept that many people have your same weakness, hell, embrace that! Support groups are formed for that very reason.

And then travel with me as we find ways to make our weaknesses strengths...whatever that might be. Meeting adjourned.





26 comments:

  1. What an empowering post, Donna. We all have weaknesses and if we can find a way to turn them around, they can make us stronger than ever. Thanks for sharing your story.

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    1. This post came from a dark place that is now in the light. I can use it to help others so that they know there is a pathway out, and then the experience doesn't seem so awful because someone else can be helped. the comments I have received, from my facebook page, in person and here have truly been empowering. Thank you my friend. And thank you for looking past our differences to the things that enable us to be friends.

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  2. Oh, Donna, we must be related.

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  3. I love your attitude, girlfriend. I swear the day we spent in Vegas was one of the most fun days I've had this year. You rock and this post is only one reason you do.

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    1. as I told Lois, the comments I have received through this post have been humbling beyond words. There is a way to be happy and without worry...

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  4. You are a breath of fresh air, Donna!
    b

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    1. and it feels so good to breathe deeply!!!

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  5. This is fabulous! I think I need a friend like Valerie. But this inspiring post serves as a great start. I'm pretty much nothing but a bundle of fear and worry 99% of the time. Off to write down Monson's quote. Thank you.

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    1. It is one of my favorite quotes....and it is completely true isn't it? whether or not you believe in God is not relevant..You can turn that worry and fear around. You can

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  6. I have those exact same fears (of being broke, homeless and hungry). I can feel like being in the bottom of an elevator shaft and you see it coming to crush you one floor at a time. I fight with it every day. This was amazing.

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    1. I wish we could go to lunch, or you could just come over and sit on my porch and let me tell you the things I have learned. we could put an end to that shaft experience...I know that horrible pain, and I know the tools too. sometimes you need bigger tools than the ones you have been using.

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  7. I need your therapist. Does she have any connections in Sacramento?

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    1. I don't know if she does, but I know there are ways to find the help you need. Contact me if you want Texdona@gmail.com and I can give you more of the tools I have used.

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  8. I have these fears all the time. I haven't overcome them at all. I feel they get stronger as I age. But we all need to communicate them to those who love us unconditionally because we journey through this life not alone by with each other.

    Thanks for sharing your story, Donna. You are a strong, feeling person and it helps to hear others' stories like yours!

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    1. You can overcome them. Earth life is a default experience of weakness....that is the basic truth. But you have the tools to overcome the things that plague you. Go to my facebook page - Donna Tagliaferri and read the comment from a reader. He speaks eloquently about thought choice followed by our ways to fix the negativity...his take was spot on and fascinating. we are in this together...

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  9. Loved this! I posted it on Twitter and my fb page www.facebook.com/thinkwriteinspire Thanks for writing it!

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    1. With a name like Think write and inspire I will take this as the highest compliment. Thank you for reading it!!

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  10. caitlin@mail.postmanllc.net

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  11. I find myself more fearful as I get older, and like you, I am combating that with trying to increase my faith. I also write a lot of poems on the subject, as a means of talking myself through it all...Hey, at least we are working on it, right? And when it comes right down to it, that's all the Lord requires. =)

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    1. More and more I feel the need to speak out against fear. I believe we can live in peace...

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  12. I have my own personal kennel full of fears. They have controlled a lot of my decisions in life. I have prayed to know when I have chosen to live a life of fear, and am working toward living more courageously. Thank you for sharing your story. Thank you for being an amazing and creative writer- it allows me to understand you. God bless.

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    1. Thank you for your insight, it helps me know which direction to go next. I firmly believe we can combat fear and live in peace. I am going to continue to search for answers, this weakness of mine can be made strong

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  13. What a great post. So true, we are unfinished and we sort of polish it off by believing in him. That's the way it is working for me anyway. Focusing on yourself is the wrong direction for sure. I love the Mother Teresa quote.

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  14. rick@mail.postmanllc.net

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