Image found here.
First thing in my dance class this morning, our teacher sat us down. "We need to have a serious talk," she told the class.
"I know that you focus so much on your weaknesses, because that's just how we are. We don't say to ourselves at the end of the day, 'I am just so awesome! I did a million things right!' People just aren't naturally like that.
"Today, I want to focus on your strengths. I really think that you need to be just as aware of them as you are of your weaknesses. That way, instead of starting where you lack and trying to get better, you can start with what you are good at and build from there."
So she told each of us, by name, in front of the whole class, what gifts she saw in us. It was absolutely beautiful. I could feel each heart open and the class truly become a unified whole.
It was marvelous to hear about the other dancers' strengths. Erika dances with passion. Matt is a born performer. Cassie is open and pure. Lindsey is an eternal optimist. Stephanie is grounded and full of strength. Jonathan has explosive energy. I too have seen these qualities in my classmates but haven't always been able to define them in words. Identifying each person's strengths helped me realize what a remarkable group we are. Our gifts fill each others' gaps. We help another. We reach new heights as we depend on and build off of each other.
And then, towards the end, my turn came. I was a little nervous, because I have really struggled in this class. I don't have the training and experience that my classmates do. I see so many weaknesses in my dancing. I wondered what she would say about me.
"Tasha," the instructor began quietly, "has remarkable confidence and courage. Sometimes she lets herself forget that, but she always picks herself back up and keeps trying. Each day that she walks through that door is a powerful act of confidence. She shows that she is not afraid to try hard things, and I think the Lord is pleased with that. He wants to us do things that are difficult, because they help us grow. Tasha is not afraid to do that which is hard."
To hear those words of praise from the teacher of a class I struggle in, from someone who has seen my weaknesses and evaluated them with a number - that meant the world to me.
Why don't we do this more often? Why do we focus so much on weakness in ourselves, in our peers, in our communities? Why are we so obsessed with the negative? Negativity does not bring life or growth. It does not motivate me to keep trying. But when I think about positive things like my potential or my strengths or the help my Heavenly Father has promised me, I find the strength and desire to keep moving forward.
Let us become more positive. Let us appreciate the goodness in ourselves, in our friends, and in the world around us. Let us fill our lives with the energy of positivity and the Love of God. I truly believe that these are the factors that can change our hearts and better the world.
‘Be not faithless, but believing.’ Believe in yourselves, in your capacity as a son or daughter of God, to do great and good things.
-President Gordon B. Hinckley