Day 38 - Strengths and Weaknesses
Robin Boudette, Ph.D.
Robin is a psychologist in Counseling and Psychological Services at Princeton University, and has worked 14 years with students. She is the former Director of the University Medical Center at Princeton Eating Disorders Program, and founder of the Mind-Body Health Services Team.
Mental fitness flows from an understanding and acknowledgement of our emotional strengths and weaknesses. Mental strengths include attributes like adaptability, endurance, steadfastness, dependability and effectiveness. Weaknesses may include hubris, impatience, aggression, perfectionism, intolerance, or greed. Self-awareness is the result of our exploration to surface and honestly inventory the positive and negative attributes that comprise our character.
We do this through insight meditation and self-inquiry - through the process of prompting, then observing thoughts with curiosity, non-judgement, and with a beginner’s mi The Buddhand. Shoshin, or “beginner’s mind” is a fundamental Buddhist concept that encourages us to approach life with no assumption of expertise, no filter of experience, no pre-conceptions.
Beginner’s mind is an attitude of openness, eagerness and fresh perspective, that frees us from what Buddhist psychology calls “the thicket of views and opinions”. To quote Ajahn Shah, “we have so many opinions. And we suffer so much from them. Why not let them go?”. This, of course, is a useful frame for exploring the objective truth of our own emotional strengths and weaknesses.