Being happy with one’s limitations

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My Mom teaches a meditation class. She enjoys doing this and she is quite dedicated. A few days ago we had a conversation about her class. My mother was sharing her thoughts about her next lesson with me. She said: “It is a good thing to know one’s limitations.” You see, when she first started out teaching a meditation class, she had a habit of talking too much and focusing on too many non-relevant issues. As a result, she sometimes found herself left with a somewhat unsatisfied feeling after class. “You have to thank your limitations for providing you with opportunities to grow,” my mother said. As time went by, she learned to teach just the right things and to let go of useless and irrelevant stuff.

My mother’s experience will ring a familiar bell with other teachers. Being a teacher myself, I come across this situation now and again also. “Knowing your limitiations” can actually be applied to all kinds of facets of life – for instance to writing. Sometimes, as I start writing, this overwhelming flood of words washes onto my screen. My first version quickly becomes a chaotic mess of useful, relevant, non-sensical and irrelevant sentences. Did I not know my limitations, I would leave my work as such, only adapting it slightly where absolutely necessary. This may have looked rather presumptuous and arrogant.

But I know that I have my limitations. I am even glad I have them. They provide me with opportunities to grow. I delete, rewrite, rethink and by and by my writing improves until finally it feels right. Perhaps to someone else my sentences still do not feel fine. I am sure some errors in style, for instance, have remained unnoticed during my rewriting sessions. This is okay, especially when someone points them out to me. I have not stopped learning. I have my limitations, glad to know them! Because only by knowing them can I remain open to new ideas, only then can I keep doing what I am supposed to do in life: namely to experience and grow.

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