This post was written by expert contributor Regina (Perretti) Savarese, LCSW, MPA.
We are all given messages throughout our lives about ourselves, especially at young ages. These messages come from a number of sources; family members, caretakers, peers, school staff, media, society and more. Some of the messages are sought out, but most are not. Hopefully the majority of the messages you received about yourself were supportive, uplifting and celebratory of your strengths!
On the other hand, you may have inadvertently encountered some messaging about yourself that was not of this nature. Maybe you were told growing up that you were too this or too that; too hyper, too bossy, too sensitive; too quiet? Maybe at some point you began interpreting this feedback as meaning that there was something wrong with these natural traits about you? That they were a weakness that you needed to fix or stifle?
You might have then found yourself trying to suppress these qualities about yourself in certain settings or environments where there was a contrasting dominant culture, i.e. among women who have known definitions of what is “lady-like” you may have found yourself smiling and nodding when your inclination was to offer a dissenting or alternative view. Or maybe around a more caustic crowd, you would join in on laughter at something that really struck you as offensive or insensitive?
Chances are these instances probably felt quite uncomfortable for you inside. And that’s an indicator that it didn’t align with some core elements of who you are.
Embracing your superpower
Now what if instead, you saw these traits about yourself not at all in a negative light, but as unique qualities to be embraced? It turns out, that not only is there nothing wrong with you, but the qualities that inherently make up who you are as a person, are actually your superpowers! Once you come to this liberating acceptance, you can then begin to embrace and harness your inner strengths in all domains of your life.
For example, if you have high energy/ADHD, instead of trying to suppress it, find healthy ways to channel it! So how/where do you channel it? Think of what you are naturally drawn to, or what naturally interests you. Maybe that’s being physically active and exercising, maybe that’s culinary, maybe that’s fashion or entrepreneurship, maybe that’s spirituality. For those who are still unsure, one way to reconnect to this is going back to what you enjoyed doing as a child. What did you get lost in, that made you lose track of time?
Your superpower at work
For the focus of career, this may look like finding fields that naturally value and utilize your strengths. For example, even if your well-meaning family may have pushed you to go into a certain career field, it may not have felt right for YOU. Is your trait that you are take charge? You’re probably a natural leader and would thrive in a supervisory capacity. Been told you are sensitive? You’d probably be a good fit in the healing profession of some kind. Been told you are quiet? Maybe you are observant and would do well in occupations that require attention to detail. Get to know yourself and find a setting and position that naturally utilizes whatever talent you have. Doing this will likely result in feeling more at ease and in flow. Now this doesn’t mean we don’t engage in professional and personal development to build skills and strategies that help to be as optimal as we can be. It is important to acknowledge areas that we can continue to grow in that would better allow us to express and utilize our natural qualities too!
Your natural traits are your superpowers. Embrace them, hone them and let them lead the way!
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I hope you find small and eventually, big ways to embrace what makes you, you!
About the expert
Regina (Perretti) Savarese, LCSW, MPA
Regina has worked in the field of human services in various capacities since 2004. As a therapist, she has had the privilege of working with many insightful clients who once they accepted and began channeling what makes them uniquely them, experienced a great improvement in the satisfaction and fulfillment of their lives.