We live in a world that tells us (most of us) that we can be anything we want to be, do anything we want to do. And if some grew up with a family sensible enough to NOT teach that, I’m guessing most heard it from SOMEONE in the process of growing up….and sadly, I fear it sticks….at least for many people.
REALITY: we each can do what we have the skills, brains, interest, ambition, intention to do. AND we have limitations. Not facing those limitations heads many, far too many, in the wrong direction. I know it’s a “teaching” with good intentions. Parents want their kids to feel they can accomplish anything if they want it badly enough and try hard enough. Sadly, I’ve seen far too many individuals push themselves in directions for which they have far too limited skills to really achieve…and even less interest in pursuing….but a strong internal PUSH to try anything because the push was “planted” in the belief that you can do it if you just try harder…..AND in that process of trying harder, please the person you most yearn to please!
Consequently individuals with inherent skills/loves/ambition/desires push themselves in an opposite direction … toward a goal planted by a loving authority figure who said “you have limitless abilities, so just use them.” The result is often actually MISSED opportunity — the failure to head in the direction of natural talent and ability. And often coupled with that misdirection is the feeling of having let someone down….by not succeeding to fulfill the “wish” of someone else.
Countless books, movies, plays portray the disappointed family… the son or daughter failing to follow in someone’s footsteps….or perhaps fulfill a goal that the family member wanted for her/himself but never achieved! But when any of us can step away from the expectations of OTHERS, it’s possible to EMBRACE LIMITATIONS. WHAT? Yes, when people face and embrace limitations, doors open for seeing what they are truly and happily good at!
I’ve been working with a young heart broken man who believes he has drastically disappointed both a father and a grandfather by pursing an education far, far away from home and in a profession totally the opposite of what the family had in mind. He simply did not possess the skills of his family business….nor the interest. And although he is thrilled by the road he has taken, he is shackled by the belief that he could not be what they told him he could be. He tried and failed the course work that would have put him on the right path. And he felt stupid! At least until he discovered his limitations did not define him….and that he possessed other skills and abilities. Such unnecessary pain and disappointment……because of the myth of the limitless self!
So some questions: Are you doing what you really want to do? Are you using your natural talent/skills/abilities? Do you push yourself in a particular direction because you think you SHOULD? Do you realize and accept your limitations? Could you identify your limitations without feeling bad or guilty or somehow lacking? Could facing your limitations NOW help get you on a better, more satisfying track? And perhaps most important, are you holding onto the belief that you COULD do ANYTHING if you just try harder? Vocation is hard for many to track and find….and sometimes it’s because of not facing limitations. Imagine limitations as good things! As the things that put each of us on a better paathway, a more desirable direction for where we, in our hearts, want to go.
Find someone to talk to — honestly — about your limitations. Then see if it frees you to look more realistically at what you are truly good at. Remember talking to someone almost always helps.