"Sometimes you don't realize your own strengths
until someone tries to take advantage of your weaknesses."
Typically, I've felt myself to be an emotionally healthy person. I am happy for the most part, and I enjoy being with (most) people. I'm excited to greet nearly every day, and feel like I'm living my soul purposes. I am pretty good with personal interactions as well as personal boundaries, too. Errr....or so I thought. The internet has added on a new layer of "figuring it out," as some of the things I rely on to sniff out a person are missing: eye contact and movement, body language, the "feel" of a person's energy or aura, the tension or pull of me toward or away from another in a real-life contact experience.
I was really put to the test and my "strengths" put me into two precarious situations. They made me vulnerable.
YOUR BIGGEST STRENGTH
IS ALSO YOUR GREATEST WEAKNESS.
Use it wisely.
I learned that what I consider to be some of my strongest traits: my mothering instincts and rescue archetype, are also my biggest faults if used in the wrong situations with (or by) the wrong people. Filtering out the times when I use them (or rather NOT filtering out those times) has put me in some precarious situations. Not every situation is as it seems at first glance. Some people are clever at smoke and mirrors to get *their* needs met (at your or my expense).
Genuine people tend to assume other people are genuine as well. Stupid assumption. Dangerous assumption, even.
Ted Bundy and other dangerous criminals lure women in, not by force....but by playing on their kindness, empathy and rescue archetypes. They bait the target. The predator seems charming and trustworthy, and may act as if they are in need of help. Remember our parents warning us about strangers? "Can you help me find my lost puppy?" "Can you hold this and help me to my car? I can't seem to get this there with my crutches." NOBODY says: "Can you come closer so I can take advantage of you?"
Once you're in their trap, you are at the mercy of someone dangerous. This happened to me twice, for different reasons each time, but each time I thought I was doing the right thing. Both times I was being manipulated. Being nice is not always right.
A local police class in my town teaches women personal self-defense. Would you know what to do if you were accosted by someone dangerous? What is our biggest danger when we're assaulted? In most situations, women won't scream. We don't want to bother people or maybe we misunderstand the situation. We don't want to draw attention to ourselves, be wrong. Even in the worst situations, our culture has molded us to "play nice." We inhibit this part of ourselves. Many women are afraid to scream.
So what does this police class for women teach? SCREAM!! As loud as you can. They actually practice screaming again and again to give women the courage to do it. And they also teach what to say and do while screaming. "I DON'T KNOW YOU!" And fight back. Defend yourself. Get away.
WHERE IS YOUR STRENGTH?
What is your strongest trait? And how can this trait be used to its extreme against you, or exploited at a risk to your emotional health or personal safety?
Today, draw 2 cards from your favorite tarot deck and ask:
Keep your strength...the situations when it is used positively will serve you to a great advantage. These strengths even define you to a point. But be acutely aware of how this knee-jerk response can work against you as well. It is not always good. The impulsive response to use this strength in every situation can (and will) work against you. Even kindness is not always recommended in every situation. Boundaries can save your life. Sometimes you have to say, "Go away," whether it is for personal safety or emotional health.
One of the core lessons of the Strength card in tarot is how we can assert ourselves through compassion rather than aggression. Yet, during my "8" year, or my "Strength" year (Key Card Eight), I learned that my compassion, my biggest strength....was also my greatest weakness when used against me. I actually had to learn how to control my compassion.
Above, the beautiful Strength card from The Gaian Tarot
It's my compassion and my rescue archetype -- the very thing that makes me likeable or helpful to many people -- the part of me that allows me to volunteer and help people in need, the very thing that fires my energy from day to day -- that got me in deep doo-doo. And I see it happening with other women around me as well. Often. Here is what I learned through my experience:
Our best and strongest traits
are also our deepest pitfalls if used improperly
or in the wrong situations.
Your "strength" is like a tarot card.
It's all about how it is applied to the individual situation.
What trait do you have that serves you well, but can easily be taken advantage of in the wrong situation or by the wrong person?
Here's wishing you a lifetime of clarity, self-awareness, and safety.
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