April 22, 2008
A reflection on weakness
Weakness. It's almost a painful word to read. To admit weakness signifies the acceptance of vulnerability. To acknowledge a weakness is the understanding that you are lacking. Weakness though, in essence, is a relative term, for there cannot be the weak without the strong. But how do we define weak and strong? Are these subjective or objective terms? For me, I think they are for the most part largely subjective, but within smaller contexts, people operate under a common understanding of what it means to be weak or strong, thus classifying it as more of an objective concept. A prime example of one of these smaller contexts would be the frame of our university.
Over the past four years of college, I have experienced weaknesses on countless different levels. More than anything else, it has been an enormous struggle for me to learn to acknowledge and accept my weaknesses and limitations. In college, it seems to me like there is such a concrete formula identifying success and failure which correspond respectively with strength and weakness. The value that society places on succeeding in school had overtaken my own autonomy to define my own parameters of success and failure. I have been brainwashed. Accordingly, if I don't perform at what the school evaluation system deems successful, I feel weak. If I am to be honest with you, my past four years have been plagued with feelings of inferiority and loss of self confidence--namely...weakness. For this, I am greatly resent the time I have spent here. If strengths were not so narrowly defined in college, I would probably have more time to focus on my passions and personal strengths instead of being subjected to only what the university deems important for me to learn.
That being said, I think this recognition of my weaknesses has been somewhat beneficial for me as well. It has taught me never to settle when I have the potential to grow. However, I feel that a lot of the time, the expense paid from feeling inferior outweighs the fulfillment gained from improving.
Sadly, I think that this internalization of success in school and in tangible tasks has also negatively influenced my priorities in other parts of my life. Since I can remember, I have valued doing well in school. Now, due to that, I view people who don't have that same kind of commitment to school as weak. This is hard for me to admit, and I am embarrassed to do so, but I feel like I have been imprisoned within this academic frame. My definitions of strength and weakness are the ones written by those evaluating scholars long ago. Success and failure should have nothing to do with academics. In recognizing this, I am weak. My inability to view others outside of this judgmental academic frame has degenerated me as a person. I've watched it speed along the deterioration of my most recent relationship, with many of our issues sprouting from the value I place on academic/career success in relation to love itself. This disgusts me, and yet I accept it as part of me at the same time. It's horrible that this is something that likely will not change because of the years it has taken to implant these measurable definitions of success and failure into my head.
Posted by thulyk at April 22, 2008 12:41 AM
For me, I think they are for the most part largely subjective, but within smaller contexts, people operate under a common understanding of what it means to be weak or strong, thus classifying it as more of an objective concept.
I couldn't agree more. It is such an elastic idea, one that changes with each scenario. Other people may consider me strong because of my past, but there is so much of me that I consider weak due to the way I deal with things.
I wouldn't call yourself weak for the way you've viewed career success in terms of a relationship. Everyone does it (I know I have), and whether it's a sign of weakness or not, the fact that you can acknowledge that you don't like how you do it is a sign of strength right there.
As much as we all want to say we aren't, some parts of us are purely products of our upbringing, and it sucks.
Posted by: pantaleo at April 22, 2008 12:46 PM
On my yes; the acceptance of vulnerability --something that has to occur when the local is enlarged to include sharing/exposure of, well, your ideas, your comments --it is a bold gesture to publish, to blog, to attach your ideas to yourself and allow them to exist where others can respond in ways beyond your control.
To own up to one's convictions is to relinguish control over them in framing systems larger than the self.
To be your own authority, to define the terms of success and failure within how you frame what you value about this opportunity to exist is essential
--that is part of why I frame my limited fork theory convictions so publicly.
This post, Taylor, is illuminting, and has cracked the framing system that helped you accept the definitions you now see more clearly --Congratulations!
Posted by: thyliasm at April 25, 2008 01:07 AMLogin to leave a comment. Create a new account.