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Know Your Strengths

In our busy lives, we often forget that we are unique and awesome individuals (of course, there are some who never forget), but for the most part, many of us are so caught up in our daily routines, we don’t realize all we are capable of, and what are strengths are.

It took a situation that I labelled as “bad”, to get me to see that I was actually a capable person that can come up with a solution to a problem, which I never saw myself as before. I took a last minute trip to San Francisco recently. Because it was booked so late, we scrambled to find a hotel for a decent rate, that offered parking for less then $50/night, and was close to where we wanted to go.

Through all the online searches, reading of reviews, comparing prices, and looking for deals, I overlooked something, and booked a hotel that lacked one major amenity – air conditioning. We got to the hotel, the windows were left opened, and there was no AC. We were thankful that at least the outside air was cool, so the temperature in the room wasn’t uncomfortable. What WAS uncomfortable was that, because it was an older building, the room was so tiny, that two people could not walk through the room at the same time, but that wasn’t the “bad” situation.

When walking down the street to get dinner, a man would walk up and down the street our hotel was on, and was yelling, grabbing chairs that restaurants set up on the sidewalks, throwing them down the street, and kicking over sidewalk signs for stores. This put us on edge walking to and from our hotel, but in some ways, we expected to deal with some of that in the city. This wasn’t it either.

The final straw was in our hotel elevator. In this tiny hotel elevator, we rode up to our room, squished between three guys and a girl, who all smelled like weed, and were high (although everywhere we went smelled like weed). They started a conversation that went like this:

Guy 1: “Dude, I’m so glad that hooker woke up. I thought she was dead.” Guy 2: “Huh?” Guy 1: “The hooker! The one you got from Craigslist on your debit card. I thought she was dead.” Guy 2: “He he, yeah.”

The elevator door opened to our floor, we got out, looked at each other and both gasped, “What the ____?!!!” THIS was it.

I started to get more and more annoyed with everything – the small space, the smell of old building, feeling on edge walking down the street, the possible dead hookers, and all the things that went on in the room before we stayed there. I had to talk myself to sleep by listing benefits of this situation (e.g. at least we have shelter, at least the parking is $20 less per day than the other hotels, at least the outside weather is cool, at least I’m not dealing with this alone). I finally went to sleep, and in the morning, I decided I wasn’t going to stay there any longer. I called the front desk, said we had to check out early, booked another hotel in another area online, packed up, checked out, drove to the new hotel, and checked into our new room, all within two hours (btw, the new hotel room was probably four times bigger). Through all this, I saw that I am capable of getting out of a situation I don’t want to be in, I am capable of coming up with solutions, and I will not sit back and “deal” with a situation I don’t support. It caused me to remember past situations, where I’ve made bigger decisions, and stood up for myself or others in different ways, and this allowed me to see some of my strengths.

On the other hand, the person I was traveling with, also did not care for the original hotel at all, but was willing to put up with it for a few more days. I got to see that his strengths were being able to go with the flow and make the best of what you have. Neither are better nor worse than the other, but instead, unique and awesome, and one ends up supporting the other.

I realize this situation is a “small” problem compared to all the things happening in the world. The point is, if you’re able to see yourself in these moments throughout life, you get to know yourself better, and you learn that you’re now better equipped to handle the next challenging situation. Every time we acknowledge our awesomeness, our uniqueness, and our strengths, we grow closer to our true selves.

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