We live in a day and age full of opportunities to compare ourselves and measure our success by the successes of others. I can’t bake as well as she can, I can’t sew as neatly as she can, I’ll never be able to sing like her, etc etc etc. We constantly belittle ourselves and our own abilities, because they do not, in our own opinion, measure up to the abilities of others. I can’t help but think how much happier we would be, in general, if we could eliminate this way of thinking.
Not only does it seem impossible for us to admit our own talents, but we are constantly trying to convince others how worthless we are as well! We’ve all done it. A friend pays us a compliment and we immediately downplay our success. Jane says “You sang so beautifully today”! “Oh, but I messed up on that third measure, and I really have a bit of a sore throat,” says Mary. Why can’t Mary instead just say “Thank You” and recognize her own talents and abilities? Better yet, why does Jane go home and say “I will never sing as well as Mary” when Jane is an amazing basketball coach to her daughters team. See what I mean? We focus on the successes of others, and measure ourselves against them, forgetting our own unique talents and abilities in the process. Even when we do admit to our talents, we convince ourselves we aren’t THAT good, or of value.
We need to stop, and have gratitude for our individual talents and abilities. But first we need to be able to recognize them. Not all talents come in the performing or visual arts, like they are commonly associated with.
Some have a talent for teaching, some for compassion, some for kindness, some will sing, and some will play sports, and still more will cook or care for their families in an outstanding way.
Let me give you a few examples.
My sister Emily is an amazing teacher, and has influenced countless teenagers lives through her positive outlook on life.
My friend Emma is a great singer, but she is also an amazing friend. She lights up the room wherever she is, and makes everyone feel comfortable, always seeking out those who might be in need of a smile.
My friend Hailey can play the piano with amazing skill and ability, but her greater talent in my eyes is her faith. She is so strong in the midst of trials, and is a rock to those around her.
My friend Madison has a gift with babies and children, and you will always find her with a baby to cuddle- but more importantly she has an innate desire to serve and give to those around her. Though only 13 she can frequently be found babysitting free of charge for the frazzled mothers lucky enough to call her friend.
My friend Niagra is a great author, and someday you will all have a copy of something she has written on your shelf. But more importantly she is amazing with children and has a unique ability to reach them and help them see through imaginative eyes. She talks to them like they are important and they adore her.
My friend Angie is an amazing mother, but she also has a unique talent for selflessness, she puts everyone’s needs above her own and is happy to do it. I have watched her babysit, or clean for others without ever complaining, and always with a smile on her face.
My sister Aubrey can cook anything, and I do mean anything (cheesecake from beans anyone?) and make it taste GOOD!
My sister Laurel, used to say she had no talent for Art, and didn’t even want to try, because she was comparing herself to her older sisters and the way WE do art. Finally she picked up some clay in class one day and began to sculpt, and realized her art could take a different shape and still be beautiful.
My sister Shannon has a talent for compassion, and has spent countless hours on the phone counseling troubled teenagers who were contemplating suicide.
I could go on and on and on. Every woman I know, has talents and abilities that are amazing and make the world a better place for those around her. We need to spend LESS time focused on comparing and demeaning ourselves- and more time on developing these wonderful abilities we have been given to make the world a better place.