This article is actually an exercise. It’s an opportunity to sit down with yourself and think about what makes you uniquely you! What are your strengths, your abilities, your talents? What are the activities that you do that really make you happy?
Now’s the time to reflect on this because it’s a good time to think about your future. For instance, if you know that you’re really good at making money, perhaps you want to go to a business college. Or perhaps you love to paint, draw, and write, then maybe getting a degree in the fine arts if your path. Yet, if you’re like most teens, you might not know at all. You might not really have a sense of your individual uniqueness and so you need to give it some thought and some reflection.
The following is a list of questions to ask yourself. It’s a list of inquiries that should get you thinking about who you are and what your abilities are:
- Close your eyes and think about your strengths.
- Are you thinking about things that you have excelled in or have mastered in the past? Or are you thinking of things you do now in your everyday life?
- When you think about your strengths, try to think about your unrealized potential. Try to uncover the abilities and interests that you want to develop in the future.
- Think about the people around you. What kinds of talents do they possess that you wish you had?
- Take a moment and think about yourself and think about the knowledge that you have. In what areas are you knowledgeable?
- List the strengths that come from what you have learned throughout your life.
- Think of what has personal meaning to you. This might also bring out in you ideas about your strengths, abilities, and talents.
In all of this it’s important to keep your family and cultural background in mind. For instance, you might find an area of strength pertaining to your own heritage. Because a strength doesn’t always have to be a talent that you possess, but it could come from who you are naturally. The following are areas of cultural identity that might stimulate more ideas about your abilities:
- Family daily rituals that aren’t generally celebrated in society
- Your spiritual beliefs which might include prayer, meditation, or temple.
- Ethnic roots such as being Asian or Latino
- Styles of communication outside of talking and texting such as chanting, storytelling, and drumming.
- Ways of life such as farming, rural, or urban.
- Generational characteristics such as being a baby boomer or a member of the X generation.
- Cultural celebrations that are different from the norm, such as Kwanzaa.
- Cultural values and beliefs such as those that are found in the Native American tradition or the Christian religion.
- Important stories of survival and resilience that are from your culture, such as having a history that derives from the Holocaust or being immigrants from another culture.
- Ways of healing that are not generally practiced in Western society, such as sweat lodges, chanting, burning sage.
- Comfort foods that are found in certain traditions such as corn bread, pizza, grits, or pasta.
- Lastly, there are sources of pride that you might carry within you that can add to your sense of strength as a person. For instance, this might be having knowledge that your ancestors were pioneers or that the men and women in your family tend to be educated and well received in your community.
All of this is important to consider as you continue your journey towards adulthood. Although adolescence is difficult, it is essentially a time for crossing the bridge between childhood and adulthood. It is precisely the time to be thinking about your future and the way that you want to live your life.
The above questions are meant to stimulate self-discovery and an uncovering of the strengths that you possess now and those that are waiting to be developed.
P. Ridgway, D. McDiarmid, L. Davidson, J. Bayes, S. Ratzlaff (2002). Pathways to Recovery: A Strengths Recovery Self-Help Workbook. University of Kansas School of Welfare. Topeka, KS.