Did you know that you are very limited? I’m not saying this to get you down. I’m sure you are aware, even more than I am, of your limitations. I want to talk about the wisdom of owning your limitations. The best way to do this is to point out a number of mine, and hopefully you will find some of my confessions true for yourself, or they will inspire you to own your unique limitations.
I’m only one person. I have one body, one mind, one location, and one life. That means that I can try to have an effect on the world as a whole, but I can’t save it alone. That means I can try to serve my life-partner, but I can’t be their only person. It’s hard to be only one person, but since that’s not going to change, I need to re-shape my hopes and plans in order to work with this ‘solo’ reality.
I have a particular perspective. Given my particular class, gender, race, orientation, religious heritage, ethnicities, geographical origin, parental upbringing, opportunities, experiences, and interests, I have a unique perspective—but I lack every other perspective. With the exception of my narrow outlook, I am surrounded by blind spots, and all of my worldly observations and values are shaped by these blind spots. If I am to gain any wider perspective on human life on earth, I have to learn to listen, and to put my perspective aside occasionally (not permanently though!).
I have particular strengths and weaknesses. Many of these strengths I developed at the expense of the weaknesses. Other weaknesses played a key role in my strengths. A few examples: When I was studying philosophy and theology, I was failing to make a lawyer, doctor, businessman, or handyman of myself. I think that being short played a formative role in my desire to be intelligent/witty. The mistakes I made, including the ones that hurt myself and others extensively—even those have strengthened me as a person, cultivating my sense of selfhood, relationship, responsibility, and a myriad of other existential themes.
I’m in process. Due to my own bad habits and reluctance to face my limitations, I feel like I got a slow start to seeking enlightenment/maturity. And due to my persistent blind spots and prejudices, it continues to be slow-going. It’s hard to grow, and there are so many forms of health to pursue, all at the same time: physical, intellectual, emotional, interpersonal, cultural, professional, social, societal, political, and ecological, to name a few. I can try each day to improve, but for the most part I will continue to lag in a number of dimensions. And I will even take steps backwards at points. My growth as a person is slow, uneven, and often ambiguous. I will continue to make mistakes.
Nu, so I’m limited. It happens. By owning these limitations, I can accept them humbly, and try to flourish despite them strategically.