Hollywood has ruined us. When we watch a film there will be, at some point, a difficulty which precipitates a crisis which, by the end of the film, the protagonist will somehow overcome. But life is sometimes not like that; sometimes we find out that there is something that we can’t overcome. What do we do when we find out that our best was not good enough?
Our first reaction is most probably severe disappointment, then maybe depression, then maybe a sense of hopelessness as if there is no life beyond finding out that we can’t do something. But no matter how negative our first reaction, life still has to go on beyond that first moment: Bills still need to be paid, money needs to be earned, relationships need to be attended to. Life does not end when we find out that our ideal of ourselves does not match up with our actual abilities. So if life still goes on beyond the disappointment, it is important and imperative that we become at peace with this new insight into ourselves. But how to find that peace when all seems dark and without any hope?
Instead of focusing on what we can’t do, it is helpful to turn our attention to that which we can do, to focus on those things that we ARE good at! For some it is simply having the ability to make others feel accepted and at ease with the right words. For some it is the ability to cook well. For some it is the ability to see a solution to a problem that has others stymied. When we are disappointed we sometimes react to disappointment like children who have a temper-tantrum when crossed, the adult version of which is to look at something in a completely negative way. So, okay, throw ourselves a small pity-party… but for one day only! And then begin to look for the abilities that we DO have.
What is an “ability”? Yes, it can be things that we do, but more importantly it is how the heart is since out of the heart comes all that we do. Have you looked for your unnoticed abilities? Get a pad of paper and as you reflect over the days, when some form of an ability occurs to you write it on the pad. After a while you will be surprised to see the accumulating evidence that there is more good and able to you than you previously saw or suspected. The fact is that everyone has abilities, although we may not think of them as “abilities, or they may not be the ones that we would “rather” have… but abilities are abilities, and just because we find out we don’t have one ability does not mean that we don’t have any, or that we are without value. What we can’t do does not matter; what matters is what we can do!