Wednesday musings, 12/6/16: perception and strength


On Saturday, I put together a book shelf. For those of you for whom the little pictures make perfect sense and you put everything together right the first try, I applaud you. As someone who would much rather read directions rather than decipher pictures, putting together furniture is something I have to gear myself up for, with the understanding that I will be wrong. Often. 

Three hours after I began, the bookshelf was built and standing next to an identical bookshelf we purchased years ago. Feeling proud of myself, I began putting books away.

When my husband got home the next morning, he looked at the bookshelf and said, “huh. They must make it differently now.”

“What do you mean?” I asked, clearly not seeing what he saw.

“The shelves are different.” And indeed they were. I had put them in backwards. 

For the next few hours until I had a chunk of time to fix my error, every time I looked at the bookshelf, the only thing I saw was the shelves facing the wrong way. While the bookshelf still functioned perfectly, the flaw was where my attention was drawn.

We do this, when we look in the mirror, or try on clothes, or watch video feedback of ourselves performing a movement. We focus on our perceived imperfections, even when others don’t necessarily notice. It is easy to fixate on what could be better instead of embrace what is good about ourselves (unless you are a millennial. There is something to be said for the era of self esteem). As we move into a time for resolutions, instead of trying to improve your self perceived faults, make it a goal to make your strengths stronger. You might be surprised where this leads.