Thankfulness Thursday: What You Call My Flaw, I See As Beauty

One of the greatest lessons I have learned in life: Do not let anyone use your flaws/quirks/ defining traits against you. You can make your unique qualities become an advantage in life, a way to enhance who you are, a way to bless yourself and the world.

I recently rewatched Monster’s University. Anything Disney I love, and I was in need of a little pick me up the other day.That was one of the themes to the movie. Each monster was different, having their own features that many would see as a nuisance or odd. However, instead of allowing themselves to be ostracized for them, they decide to use them to their advantage in their lives and jobs. It is what sets them apart from the rest. They use it to their benefit. It becomes the thing that gets them the most scares from the children. They aren’t weaknesses for they choose to make something from their traits. They make what one would define as a flaw their strength. While many would not want their unique characteristics, taunt them for them, or would want to change in a heartbeat if it were them, these monsters have come to embrace them. They are underestimated for their appearance and quirks, getting told they will be nothing. Yet in the end, it is they who succeed beyond the rest because they learn to take advantage of their distinct features and embrace the uniqueness instead of trying to conform. It is their individuality that gets them ahead in life and fulfilling their purpose and pursuing their dreams. They may be seen as misfits but that does not mean they do not have the ability to make a difference. Their self acceptance makes them victorious, and that confidence radiates to others, helping them to be accepting of the monster as well.  With that, they are able to learn from one another and grow as individuals. They have a new appreciation for who that monster is and what it is capable of using its defining traits.

I have learned to do the same thing in life. My gift of association is one many would consider a flaw. I am considered “too emotional”. My ever present tears and feelings right at the surface ready to be expressed would be weaknesses too many. These past few days I have cried more than many do in a lifetime. Taking on the emotions of others leaves me feeling beyond comprehension and on a level too deep to be understood. This gift has left me isolated at times for people cannot comprehend what I am going through and thus push away or treat me differently because of it. Many do not know how to react and I struggle to relate to people who go on living “normal” lives obliviously to the extent of pain that exists in the world. The odds were against me to live normally and free of struggle. As a child, this gift left me ostracized. My tears were a turn off and a source of bullying. It was not okay to be so emotional, and as a young girl craving acceptance, I tried to conform. I tried to suppress the emotions and numb them so I could be “normal”, so I didn’t have to live with such pain and confusion. Enter the anorexia waiting stage right. This was its cue. This was what it was waiting for to creep in and be the lead role in my life. The anorexia served the purpose of minimizing my emotions, and at times, eliminating them altogether. It gave me relief from the constant intense feeling. I stopped crying. I stopped being so emotional. I morphed into what was deemed acceptable in society, both physically and emotionally, while simultaneously losing myself and my own acceptance of who I was.  Instead of embracing my gift, I tried to return it. I was left hopeless and lacking identity. All that I was, that made me me, was gone. I was at a loss, delving me even deeper into the anorexia in an attempt to gain a new identity. It never fit though, and nearly cost me my life. I was designed to feel, to be empathetic, to relate to others with extreme compassion, to pick up on other’s feelings. I was created by God to be emotion filled. It took me realizing that to pursue recovery with full commitment.

 This gift is not a weakness. It is an advantage for my present and future. It will help propel me into a beautiful life, the one I have imagined in which I can inspire and be a light and feel my own sense of satisfaction and success. It is this gift that will help me fulfill my calling. It will allow me to better come into my purpose. It is this gift that will help me make a difference in the world. I need this gift to heal and bring peace to the hurting. I need those emotions and association to offer the highest capacity of hope and help. By no means is feeling and associating the way I do something to be ashamed of or hide. Nobody can hold my gift against me. I know the beauty, rareness, and power of this quality in me and how it has ultimately enriched my life. That knowledge makes me proud and thankful for its presence. The opinion of others about it has no impact on me anymore. I need not hide what God has given me for any circumstance. It is a blessing. Even despite the pain it can cause with the intense emotions, the hurt it brings when I associate but can’t rescue the person, and the difficulties I face as I learn to manage it and healthily incorporate it into my life, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Never would I want it taken away. It is what makes me Jenna and unique. It is a reflection of my spirit. To take that away from the world would be detrimental.

Everybody has their own special gifts that enrich life, and it is our job to discover, embrace, and share them to change the world. Find how you can use your defining traits to your benefit in life. Do not allow anyone to rob you of them or make you feel like an outcast for them. They serve a tremendous purpose in your life and who you are and what you do that ultimately causes a ripple effect to impact and benefit the lives of others. People may laugh at you, criticize, or ostracize you for your uniqueness, but do not get angry. Feel sorry for them that they feel the need to be all the same, that they are living a life stifled and trapped as someone they are not. Use your acceptance as a model for them demonstrating the beauty in taking pride in your uniqueness. Hopefully, they will see that and start to embrace and display their authentic selves too. They will see there is no shame in being how God created them and that they can use their special gifts to their advantage. If you find you are surrounded by people who can’t accept you for all of you-your “flaws” and all, then find people who will. Search for people who will embrace you with open arms and an open mind to what you can teach them through your unique traits. When you are always trying to conform to the norm, you lose your uniqueness which can be a foundation to your greatness. What makes you different is what makes you beautiful, what makes you shine. Never let that light dim or extinguish on account of the opinion of others. The world will be a darker place.