In a world where to be seen to be the best, in all aspects of life, is the pinnacle of achievement, it can be difficult knowing how to accept your limitations. No matter how many times a loving parent comforts a child with the words “You did your best, which is all anybody can do, and nobody’s perfect,” still there are larger external forces pressing home the message of failure to deliver, to be, to shine. The missing gold star for not being the best at spelling that week, or the failure to win the egg and spoon race, are going to hang heavy in the mind of the child whose limitations prevented perfection. Getting to the stage of acceptance that sometimes what we THINK we can do is never going to equate with what we CAN do, is often a hard and rocky road. But you can learn how to accept your limitations if you stand back and look at the bigger picture.
Another favorite parental piece of good advice was “Well, everybody can’t be good at everything!” That is the nucleus of reaching acceptance for your limitations. For example, as a very plump child with the co-ordination of a potato, I lived in dread of physical education classes, and even worse, school sports days. A forward roll, a leap off a beam, a race to win – not one of these were ever going to be in my grasp. Yet give me a poem or an exercise in creative writing, and I won the prizes, while my fitter, faster class-mates struggled with words. That suggests that knowing how to accept your limitations is something about understanding the principle of compensation.
To be tall, willowy and endowed with large brown eyes and flowing auburn tresses was another ambition doomed to failure. Given that nobody in my immediate family attained a height greater than 5′ 9″ (the males), and were all either blue or grey-eyed, I was genetically programmed to be extremely limited in the desired-looks department. Add the fact of being Rubenesque in shape to this equation, and you can see how hard it was to come to terms with my “failings.” With the wisdom of age and the help of the Hippie movement, I realized that it is the differences that make life more interesting, exciting and challenging. And besides, had I been so beautiful, how would I know whether people liked me for myself or for what I looked like? All a matter of learning and perspective, then, accepting your limitations.
If each person accepts that they are unique, and endowed with skills and qualities, talents and abilities that they use in ways specific to themselves, then that is how to accept your limitations. Grace and gratitude come into it too, for the truth is, none of us can be perfectly “everything” and to want to be so is to howl at the moon. By looking at just what you have and what you can do, and do well, by developing your talents and giving thanks for them, you can accept your limitations. While you are doing this, consider those who do not have your special qualities who might be envying them, and judging their lack in themselves to be limitations to be accepted. You are what you are, so rejoice and be glad.