Honor Your Limitations

We All Have Limitations

We all have limitations, yet many of us try to cover them up, ignore them, or battle through them. Sometimes we benefit from this tendency to keep going despite our limitations. Other times we hit a figurative or literal brick wall because we won’t acknowledge what we can and can not do.

Everyone is Different

One of the reasons that I discourage comparison is because everyone is unique. We have many things in common and often similar life circumstances, but what those experiences mean and their impact upon us is specific to each individual.

What are Your Limitations?

I know my limitations:

  • physical;
  • emotional;
  • intellectual;
  • spiritual;
  • financial;
  • relational.

Knowing my limitations does not mean that I don’t know my strengths and gifts. It simply means that I know where my challenges are and that gives me an opportunity to plan accordingly. Knowing my limitations allows me to:

  • ask for help;
  • say “no”;
  • expand my knowledge;
  • create what I need;
  • accept what is.

American Culture and “Can Do” Spirit

We live in a culture that has low tolerance for “can’t do” talk. I’m not suggesting that we experience ourselves as incapable. What I am acknowledging is that there are some areas in all of our lives where we have limitations. When we don’t acknowledge it or honor it, we run the risk of injury, harm, crisis etc…that could be otherwise be avoided or handled in a different manner.

I recently had an experience that reminded me of my physical limitations and why it is important to honor those limitations. One of my primary physical limitations is osteoarthritis. The pain of osteoarthritis is made worse by cold temperatures, lack of rest/sleep, walking up and down stairs, not maintaining a healthy body weight and so on.

New Year’s Eve

On New Year’s Eve, I attended a concert in Atlanta at Phillips Arena. My recent concert experiences over the past year resulted in my awareness of a few truths.

  1. Concerts never start on time.
  2. Concert venues have many stairs.
  3. Parking near concert venues is challenging.
  4. Traffic is congested the day of a concert near the venue.

Given these truths, all of them are amplified on New Year’s Eve (especially when it is cold).  But sometimes I want to do things that other people seem to do with ease. Despite my physical limitations with osteoarthritis, I can do many things, but there is a high price to be paid on the physical plain.

The Price of Comparison

So there it is…the thing that gets us into trouble: Comparing oneself to others and wanting a limitation that is real to somehow not exist  when it is inconvenient.

Just like the person who has an alcohol or drug problem but wants to have a drink at the cocktail party “like everyone else.”

The truth is we don’t know the price others are paying and how they are managing, acknowledging, honoring or not honoring their limitations. We just know and can only know what our choices mean for us and what the consequences are… including an increase in pain, chronic fatigue, or “falling off the wagon” and risking one’s safety, employment etc…

Honoring Our Limitations

Some of us face relational limitations such as having a predisposition for unhealthy reactions and responses. We have to take time and practice to learn to have healthy relationships.

Some of us have financial limitations as they relate to resources, earning, access, decision making, etc…

Some of us have spiritual limitations in that we struggle with distinguishing meaning, purpose, power and the role of faith.

The point is that we all have limitations. In most cases we have several that intersect. It doesn’t mean that we can’t have experiences that bring us recreation, connection, social contact, relationships and financial stability etc…it means that if we honor our limitations we can improve our experiences.

We can feel less shame, hurt, pain, risk, desperation, etc…

Knowing and honoring one’s limitations is an act of courage not fear. It is an acknowledgment of truth and facing that truth. Knowing our limitations can allow us to build bridges to experiences that bring us closer to our healthier selves.

Copyright © 2018 Ruby Blow. All rights reserved.

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