Updated: Sep 28, 2020
Do you have a “weakness” that you have let hold you back? Me too. But over the course of my life, I have learned to turn it into one of my biggest strengths. I have embraced it, and now I wouldn’t change my “weakness” one bit. It’s what makes me, me.
I was in the seventh grade when my mom took my sister and I to get our hearing tested. Hearing loss is in my family, and because my sister always watched TV with the volume up so loud, my mom thought she might have inherited a hearing impairment.
We drove to the small town of Genola, Utah, where our audiologist and close family friend checked our hearing in the small studio he had built in his home.
Several pitches and decibel levels of sounds played in one ear at a time and I clicked a button each time I heard a pitch. My sister went through the same testing, with almost perfect scoring. She had impeccable hearing. I, however, did not.
The next thing I knew, white and pink putty were being mixed together, put into a syringe, and pushed into my ears to make molds for hearing aids.
Can you imagine how that must have felt? An already awkward teen told she now needed to wear something, which so many people associated with someone being stupid.
I was mortified. So much, so, that I hardly wore them.
I knew that there was a perceptions of stupidity that came with hearing aids.
and the technology really was awful back then. It felt as if a microphone was shoved into my head. The amplified sound of paper shuffling, water running and doors opening and closing made me cringe.
So, I deprived myself of hearing.
It wasn’t until my last semester of my senior year of high school that I started wearing them full-time. I had a job where I could not hear the people I needed to help, and the reality set in that I could no longer function without them. I got a technology upgrade (a new and improved set of hearing aids) and embraced the struggle to get used to them.
Today, technology is amazing. I’m able to go throughout my day, and most of the time, forget that I am wearing them because the sound is so natural.
I’ve learned that because of my hearing impairment I am incredibly observant. It’s like my other senses have heightened, and I notice things that I don’t think I would if I could hear.
It has turned me into a really good listener.
I may be sensitive to light at night, but you can bet that no dog barking, snoring person, thunder or rain is going to keep me awake. I will sleep right through that.
See how that works? Instead of pointing out all the ways my hearing impairment might hold me back, I focus on how it makes me better.
That’s what I want you to do. Take whatever you have defined as a weakness of yours, and find how it makes you stronger, better. Stop letting it hold you back, and instead let it pull you forward. Let it build you up. Let it be a force for good.