Finding Hope: You’re a Gift

My impression is that many of us feel worthless if we don’t have a talent. At least, that was the case for me. I’ve been comparing myself to everyone around me for thirty years, and I’ve been coming up short.

I’d spent years searching within myself for a talent and found nothing.  I was smart in school, but like just-above-average kind of smart. I went to college to be an engineer and figured out within roughly five minutes that I did not fit in at all with my peers. I’m good with numbers but a few years in the finance field taught me that it doesn’t give me the warm and fuzzies. I briefly thought photography might be it, but I always felt mediocre.  Like an unsurmountable kind of mediocre because although you can master the technical part of photography, creativity is a gift.  It can’t be learned.  And I didn’t want to spend forever being mediocre because I wasn’t given that gift.  I want to be great at something.  So I knew that wasn’t going to be my thing. (Even though I will always have a passion for it and I still take sessions here and there.  I’m not bad at it.  I’m just not amazing.)

So starting this particular blog was a big deal for me.  I’d played around with sites and blogs in the past in an effort to keep our families up to date on our lives.  But that felt forced and I just never had much to say beyond quick captions for the pictures.  It simply wasn’t a good fit.  But this blog was different.  It was all about me, and if you haven’t noticed, I really like to talk about myself.  (Listen, I could try to beat around the bush but what’s the point?)

For the first few months, I only shared my posts with two people.  It was obvious that my life was changing, and I was very vocal about that to anyone who would stand still for 30 seconds.  But I wasn’t quite sure if my words were worthy of reading.  It was something I really loved doing, but it also made me feel incredibly vulnerable.  And at the time, I wasn’t really ready for that.

But in July 2010, I posted the link on my personal FB page.  And it felt like freedom.  I was opening myself up to criticism on both the writing and weight loss ends.  And somehow, neither came.  It was quite the opposite.  I had people that I knew and respected as writers acknowledging my skills.  And you know I loved that.  But for the first time, I realized I wasn’t writing for the validation.  I was writing because it felt like the thing I needed to do.  It felt natural.  And yeah, I like an audience, but I kept writing even when I didn’t feel like my (itty bitty) audience was growing.  Because I enjoyed it and because it felt important.

In photography, I was constantly comparing myself to everyone else.  I could easily see my deficiencies and I couldn’t find anything that set me apart from anyone else.  That’s not a way to feel great.

But with writing, it’s been different.  I know I’m not the best at this. I read other blogs and long to be as creative or witty or intelligent as they are.  I don’t use big words on this blog because I’m not that kind of girl.  Sometimes I’d love to sound smarter than I am, but I write in a conversational tone. I don’t have a thesaurus on hand when I’m talking to a friend, so there’s no reason to put on airs when I’m writing to all of you.

Now my titles do annoy me. I’d love help with those. Maybe there’s a “Blog Title” class I can take at UMass. 😉 That’d probably be called “Creative Writing”, yeah? Or “Marketing 101″? Whatevs.

But back to my point. We don’t always have an obvious gift or talent. I can’t draw, sew, sing, act, or play an instrument. And can you seriously imagine me playing a sport? Ha. I played little league basketball once and I scored two whole points the entire season. And everyone cheered for me because I was that. bad. I thought I was a good dancer until I took a hip hop class. No. Just no. Do I have rhythm? Sure. But can I follow choreography? Definitely, if you can teach me the steps one-on-one about 64 times in a row. Then I’ve got it…no problem!

But who cares? You know what I can do? I can talk. I can talk and talk and talk and talk.

Every time I get ready to do a photography session, I’m filled with fear.  I don’t trust myself because photography doesn’t come naturally to me.  I have to work so very hard at it just to be decent.  That’s not a talent.  But put me in front of an audience (big or small), and I could talk for hours.  Because that’s my happy place.

This blog is like one long speech for me.  My subject matter is not for everyone. I wouldn’t pretend it is.  But I finally see that my ability to talk and write is my gift.  I feel great at it.  I don’t feel a need to be better than anyone else, because I just say or type what flows through me.  I never compare my writing to anyone else’s because I believe I have something unique to offer.  I couldn’t really explain what that is, but it doesn’t matter.  This isn’t about trying to prove something to you, it’s about proving it to me.  This is about knowing that I have something special within me.  Who would have thought being a chronic oversharer could be a talent?  But I believe it is.  Because through my willingness to be vulnerable, I’m able to help others feel a little bit less alone.

But that’s just me.  And although I really love to talk about me, I’m writing this post for you.  Promise.

The point of this post is to remind you that you have something very special within you.  It may not be immediately evident.  It may not be a traditional talent that will make you money.  I have a friend who is an amazing dancer, another who is an incredible seamstress, many who are ridiculously talented photographers, and so on.  I love seeing them excel in their fields, and I no longer feel sad that I don’t have a thing.  Because I do.  And you do too.  I have other friends who have subtler-but-equally-amazing talents.  Being friends with other homeschoolers, I realize how diverse and amazing we all are.  I have no child-related skills.  None.  But my friends are incredible mothers who thrive on raising their children.  I see these women organize and host intricate events that would overwhelm me within seconds.  Planning things for massive amounts of people is not my talent.  But dammit, it’s an amazing one.

I could go on and on, but I won’t.  I will say this: I look around at all the things we enjoy in this world: movies, books, music, TV, technology, homes, adventures.  We tend to think of the obvious talents of the actors, authors or singers.  But what about the guy who came up with my new favorite app? Or what about the girl who designed the lighting at this summer’s biggest concert? Or what about the wedding planner who handles the tiny little details of such a huge occasion? I mean, we all are so unique.  I can’t do ANY of that.  I can talk.  That’s it.

We all have something inside of us that sets us apart from everyone else.  But I think we often get stuck trying to be someone we’re not.

einstein-genius

You need to embrace the person you actually are!  You have to be willing to accept that your gift may be something completely unrelated to your career.  I have no idea if I’ll ever be able to make any kind of money by talking.  But it’s not important, because I’m happy to share my gift.  It keeps me sane.  This blog gives me a sense of purpose.

One thing I’ve learned along the way is that it’s our duty as humans to recognize and point out others’ strengths.  We don’t always see them in ourselves.  I want my friends to know how amazing they are.  I want them to rise through their doubts and use their gifts.  Mostly because I’m selfish.  I want to see what they have to offer!  To be fair, I share my gift with everyone.  Stand in front of me for two seconds and you’re mine.  I’m generous like that.  And if you don’t appreciate it, well…I don’t actually blame you. 😉

So I will end this post with one last reminder.  You are a gift to this world.  Don’t ever forget that.  You may not see how or why you’re so special just yet, but I’m confident that you’ll figure it out.  We’re lucky to have you here!  Don’t be afraid to be great.  This is your chance to offer your talents to the world, and I hope you live like it!

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