Your traits: Friends or foes? On persistence

The following continues to be the most influential combination of words in my life. This hung on a plaque in my childhood home (Thank you, Mom and Dad). I remember being so young and fascinated by it–sounding out the words. I remember going to the family room dictionary (Yes, a big, big paper one with yearly updates–I’m THAT old) to look up what some of the words meant. Once I understood, the formula seemed so clear for the life ahead.

“Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” -Calvin Coolidge 

I can now use this for both my benefit and to benefit others. For example, a colleague and I just spent July through March working on a project that required multiple–let me repeat, multiple–revisions before it could be accepted. That is, IF it was going to be accepted for publication.  This use of my persistence was a wise choice and trait application as the paper’s contents will likely help many. But it wasn’t always this way.

Going back a few decades, it wasn’t clear how to use my gift of persistence. Once my eating disorder button got pressed “on,” persistence became very tricky. I mean, persistence is supposed to be a good thing, right?  Through persistence, I learned that there generally is no all-good or all-bad.

My gift of persistence was a trait that my eating disorder(s) thrived on. Applied it daily. My persistence ended up making my life smaller, faker, more rigid, isolated even when around others, and it helped to remove me from experiencing my life. There are a lot of seemingly cool memories I have photos of, but I can only remember my size or weight.  

Why am I self-disclosing so candidly? Because I want to remind you that good, strong traits must be applied in discriminant ways–with respect and caution. Even though something might FEEL right and good, there are typically no “givens”–all-good or all-bad. 

I find that people who get eating issues so often have tremendous gifts—somehow, those gifts (e.g., attention to detail, ability to be convincing, intelligence, and more) get flipped to support the eating issues, and thus the potential destruction of a person’s quality of life.

Press on!  Until you know how to use your gifts to serve you and others, please let (or consider letting) someone in. Get talking. Is it possible that what feels so good and positive could actually be harming you? Yes, it can feel so so so confusing.

Persistence is now my gift. I honor it. I’ve learned when to stop being persistent. (Yes, sometimes that needs to happen!)

What are some of your trait-gifts? How are you using them—in ways that make your life full and meaningful or in other ways?

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