Several months back while running through my Facebook feed, I recall coming across quite an interesting quote that I’ve since inked into one of my quote books. It’s a quote by psychologist Laurie Helgoe. She says: “Isn’t it refreshing to know that what comes perfectly natural for you is your greatest strength? Your power is in your nature. You may not think it’s a big deal that you can spend hours immersed in something that interests you- alone- but the extrovert next door has no idea how you do it.”
Now obviously from reading it, she’s referring to the strengths of the introverts, in contradiction to the extroverted majority, but she makes an interesting point when she talks about a strength that comes naturally to you. Not physical strength- not necessarily. But in the matters of inner strength; the way you carry yourself, your talents, your way of looking at things. Up until I came across that quote, I never thought of strength to be applicable to as such otherwise. Before, I would like to say that something like your talents and your way of being was just something that was always there; something that makes up who you are. But strength? I’ve always defined strength as an inner force- whether psychologically or physiologically- that is to be built upon over a course of time, and then maintained.
But then I think about how even the most natural of strengths are worth striving to keep, for not everyone you come across is going to be too keen on who you are as a human being. Some will try to change you. Some will try to tear you down. Some will try to belittle you. Some will try to close the door in your face and tell you, “no, this is not for you.” Regardless of reasons, motives and/or insecurities, there’s one in several who’s never going to like you for what strengths you possess.
I think that’s part of why strengths are the way they are; to reinforce you to be who you were born to be, and to persevere all other nay-Sayers otherwise. That’s part of what makes every individual unique in that regard. You never give up, you put your strengths on the forefront, and let them become your sword and shield as you show who you are all about, without shame and without regret.
I guess in a sense, I encountered a similar obstacle earlier this week. I entered my children’s book in the 2014 San Francisco Writing Contest, and on Tuesday, I found out that it was not selected as a finalist. The judges have their reasons of course, and perhaps one of them was that it was not quite ready. It may have been that there were other books entered in that category that they liked more. I don’t want to guarantee truth, but if anything, I wouldn’t be surprised if I were one of the youngest people to submit an entry to the contest. So therefore, perhaps my lack of experience showed through somehow.
But that doesn’t mean it’s never to be seen by the light of day, because I know it’s a book worthy for all children to read. Through a collaboration of Japanese haiku and children’s folktale, the book follows a sole bullied llama on a farm who- coincidentally- learns the value of the strength in identity. Through a conversation with a wolf, she teaches him how being yourself is the best thing you can be and how no bully should ever get the best of you because of that.
It’s all about strength. That’s the motive of this free-verse dialogue. And if there’s one thing that I gained from not making it as a finalist in the contest, is that I believe in the message more than ever before that’s being addressed in my book, and I will do anything for it to reach out to the eyes and minds of others.