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Turning Weaknesses into Strengths

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How many times in a therapeutic environment has an issue from your past come up and you've thought: "Here we go again"? I swear I have financed my shrink's summer home talking about body image issues. I've probably sent his kids to a lovely private school from our countless sessions discussing that inevitable impostor syndrome.

Lately, I've had an epiphany: Perhaps some of our issues aren't supposed to be erased or fixed. Is it possible that some of our core issues are meant to stay with us? At a recent lecture of mine, I gave a reading to a woman who raised her hand. As she stood up, I felt a deep loneliness and lack of trust emanating from her.

"When I tune into your energy, I feel a strong sense of abandonment and trust issues. Does this make sense?" I asked her. "No, not at all," she replied.

There is nothing more unnerving as a psychic than when you are standing in front of a room full of people giving a reading, and the person you have selected keeps shaking their head "no" over and over. In this case I knew I was onto something, I just needed to push a little harder. I repeated what I was feeling to her in a different way.

"I just get the sense that I have been left alone, and that has created a core struggle with trusting people."

She kept repeating that it didn't make any sense, but I noticed the woman to her right nodding "yes" with wide eyes and pointing to her.

"Is this your friend sitting next to you?" I asked my "no" chanting client.

"Yes, it is."

"Miss, can you stand please? Does this make sense to you? You keep nodding your head."

She looked at her friend and said, "What about when your dad left home when you were 7? There was no explanation, and you didn't hear from him for a year."

"Oh right, but that happened when I was a child. I've worked on it and I'm over it."

I can't tell you how many times I have heard clients say they are "over" a particular issue. The self help community often inundates us with techniques and tools to "erase" a plethora of issues. Whether it's eight weeks to conquering your fear of intimacy, a weekend workshop to fix your body image issues, or even affirmations to help you move past your fears of success, the quick fixes are everywhere.

In my own experience, I have certain core issues that I have worked on for years. I have struggled with body image issues for the majority of my life.

I was raised in a family with weight struggles on both sides. In my lifetime I have lost nearly 100 pounds, and yet I still struggle with body dysmorphic disorder. No matter what size or shape I am, I still see that overweight 15-year-old when I look in the mirror. I have talked about it in therapy and given it up to the steam of a sweat lodge. I have cleared all my chakras and said loving affirmations for hours; yet that issue is still a part of my consciousness. Does that mean I haven't gotten over it?

I have a slightly different philosophy. I think we each have unique core issues that are meant to stay with us throughout life. These are part of the lessons that we are supposed to learn. When I connected with that audience member's feeling of abandonment and lack of trust, I explained that this childhood experience was a character creating moment. At that time a part of her brain decided that people are unreliable, and the only real person she can trust is herself. She is meant to learn about trusting people and being trustworthy. Those kinds of core issues become a part of who we are, and they do not ever get erased. The goal is to be at peace with them vs. trying to fix or erase them.

"I don't think this is something you ever get over. This will visit you from time to time, and part of the lesson is to recognize it before it presents itself. For example, it appears that you currently take on too much responsibility in your life. It is a challenge for you to delegate tasks for other people. The reason for this is that you are still learning to trust people when they say they will do something. When you recognize where it comes from, it makes it easier to make an informed decision instead of ignoring it."

"That makes sense. And you are right. I don't like to ask for help and try to do everything on my own."

We all have core issues. Some can be as extreme as addiction. And even if that person has been clean and sober for 20-plus years, they still identify as an addict. Why? Because it is a core issue. Even though I exercise, eat well and try to honor my body, the moment I step onto a beach I still feel like I am too big. I initially feel like an imposter when I walk into a gym. This is a core issue, and the lesson is to push through it. Try to identify what your particular core issue is and see how it is affecting your life. Once you have identified some of your core issues, make peace with them. Make sure they aren't holding you back from an experience.

Most human beings are comfortable sharing their strengths with the world. I'm very organized! I'm a great communicator! It's easy for me to meet people! I speak four languages! Whatever the case may be, we boast about our strengths but try to hide our weaknesses. I invite you to also boast about your core issues. Make peace with them. Don't let them rule you but share them with loved ones. I guarantee that it will bring more intimacy to your relationships and will give your consciousness a break from trying to fix who you inevitably are at your core. Use your issues as a tool, and they will add to your strengths.

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