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Kindness and caring about others. Teaching. Nurturing friendships. Reaching out to others. (I would hope I continue to do this until my time on this earth is over).
I ponder this somewhat frequently. I don’t know that the people in my life are always vocal about letting me know what they see as my gifts. (I may be the same with them.) I can think of attributes like intelligence that people tend to use when referring to me. I have a complex understanding of intelligence. Part of me would like to believe that people see how I treat them and work with them–being patient, reliable, and sensitive–as gifts. But those could also be attributes that I aspire to more than ones I achieve. I do know that my partner and I have an on-going dialogue about being outgoing. She sees me as being much more outgoing with others than I see myself. I see myself as rather shy. Perhaps both are correct in different ways or at different times. Perhaps I can release my own narrative about being shy. More than anything, I believe that I would like joy to be my greatest gift. I hope that maybe my daughter would say that I am joyful.
I don’t really know. The focus is on being fully expressed, an outpouring. When I reflect on it now, it is sort of one-way traffic because it does not depend on or seek a response from others. There are those where I experience their outpouring and of course I deeply appreciate that. Exploring the full depth and dimension of this life for me really is about clarity of seeing and being from the core of who I really am.
Todays question feels hard: I think other people would say that creativity and kindness are the gifts I have been given. It feels really hard to admit this…and I think I need to own who I am, and feel grateful.
I have a tonne of other frailties, but it’s essential to know your own strengths as well as weaknesses.
That’s what I said! It’s good to celebrate ourselves too!
The capacity to to listen with loving presence, to make suffering sacred (no parts left out), kindness in words and actions, self-compassion as the fountain of compassion for all, to be moved by beauty and wonder.
It’s taken some time to inhabit this space. I’m still learning. The gifts don’t belong to me, and are present when tapping into a larger love beyond this mind, body, and heart.
This goes well with today’s quote by Anne Lamott: “Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.”
I have a hard time communicating or believing in my qualities as a person a lot. It’s something I am working on. I often hear that I can handle a lot on my plate, that I am hilarious, compassionate and creative.
I would guess they would think I am a good, compassionate listener and perhaps a creative thinker. What can I learn? That I appreciate such gifts in others and hope I am on the same page.
I understand Kevin’s point about this feeling like self-adulation, yet if we’re supposed to know ourselves then we’re supposed to know our positive attributes as well as any others. I will also note the possibility of some gender differences in responding to this. They’re older studies now but there was research that men took solo credit for accomplishments while women credited the team. Being able to own what we’re good at is important, especially if you carry human characteristics that at times have been assumed to be “less than”, making it harder for your genuine competence to be recognized and acknowledged.
Many times on here someone’s response has been a variation of needing to love ourselves if we are to love others. This question is a moment to recognize that we have qualities that others appreciate. We can bring those into our days and encounters and affect the lives of others.
I think others might say that my greatest gifts are that I am kind, optimistic, and I stay centered and calm. Staying on an even keel just appears to be my temperament so I don’t know that they need to compliment me for that.
I recently got compliments from 2 different directions at work about how I have managed to introduce new ideas and bring people along through a pretty significant shift and do so in a way that welcomes people even if they don’t embrace the entire change right away and helps them come along in an evolution.
A few months ago I went through an executive training with one of those strength finder analysis tools. They told us that often people want to emphasize their weaknesses and work on those when instead we should recognize our strengths, lean into those and use them, and seek out others with different strengths to balance our team. So to me it makes sense to know what I’m good at, which also means knowing what I am not good at.
To your point about why people are uncomfortable answering this question and the concept of “self-adulation,” I found it helpful to remember that the question was framed as what *other people* would say. I am sure that it is still a struggle for people, but at least assuming that other people would say *something*, and I just had to imagine what it would be was helpful.
Years ago, I had a job interview with a writer who was really abrasive. He asked me if I wrote, and I said yes. Then he asked, “Are you any good?”
I assume that he and I just have different temperaments, but I am still in awe that you would ever put somebody in the position of being so bluntly braggadocios.
Was it Gallop strength finder? I’m zesty among other attributes, lol!
It was! I’m a strategic thinker, among other attributes. Love “zesty”!
Wow! Thank you for such an inspiring response. I need to read it a few times to keep it in my heart. I thank you!
Like Kevin, this question seemed a back handed way to compliment myself. I am more comfortable with Anne LaMont’s quote for the day. I hope I’m a light house! Earlier this morning, I read Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation and it speaks of learning and unlearning. I like that and found its message about being a “grand” parent (notice the quote on the word grand) a reminder that life itself is the gift and what we do with it matters. here is the link: https://cac.org/daily-meditations/becoming-a-grand-parent-2022-09-23/ I will also post it in the gratitude lounge.
Thank you for introducing me to Richard Rohr’s site. Now I visit this site and theirs every day. Powerful!
Ana Maria, You are most welcome. I was a volunteer at Richard’s center back in 2005 and have followed his work since the 1980s. You might want to checkout his Living School at the website. It might be of interest to you.
Thank you! I will!
Hmmm, I have no idea what other people think about me. And my gifts probably aren’t so “great”, but I try to be kind and bring enthusiasm and humor to everything I do. I know what kind of person I want to be, and through reflection and practice, I am learning to be that person.
I have been told I was a deep thinker, persistent, and showed patience under pressure. My husband tells me sometimes that I am like a terrier when I won’t give up. As far as learning goes, I think we need a careful approach. What is a blessing can also be a curse. We need to keep things in balance. For example, do I spend too much time deep thinking about something that I can’t change instead of changing something that I can change? I posted the Prayer of Serenity a few days ago which has some application here.
I am grateful I was so filled up with love as a child by my parents that I have so much to give. I was able to spend my career loving children. As a teacher that was my super power! I could shine love on the most challenging of children and help them cope with what difficulties they were facing. I have a capacity for joyful optimism and hopefully that brings some happiness to others. So the aha moment right now is the realization that we can use our gifts to brighten the lives of others.
Others have shared I am calm, understanding, kind, supporter, welcoming, passionate, giver, great listener and dependable.
My takeaway I am harder on myself than necessary. I should stop and see the wonderful things in myself that other experience. I need not to be so hard on myself at times.
Appreciate the fact that I am pretty cool person to be around.. lol.
“understanding, kind, supporter, welcoming, passionate, giver, great listener and dependable,” My goodness, Racel, pretty cool indeed! I say, go with that and not labor on what you’ve learned. Just keep being you!
You can take this question from several perspectives. One perspective is about self-appreciation. I see this question as cultivating gratefulness for what is working in us. So many times we are thinking about ways we need to improve and change. Perhaps you can tell from my response, people tell me that I am enthusiastic (which incidentally means possessed by God}, sharp-wiited, and creative. Although I treasure and strive for calmness. I do tend to gravitate toward those who embody that because we are a nice balance. What can I do with this? I think I’m already doing it. I’m determined, I persevere, and I bring a lot of up energy to life. I embrace these gifts and try to use them to do good at the point of myself and in the world.
Love your response, Avril. Thank you!
I love your response Avril
Not sure about my “greatest” but others have commented that they appreciate my calm and grounded demeanor. I don’t have to try to be this way, either. It’s just the way I’m wired. (My interior is a different story …)
I’ve never thought of this before, but this gift is part of my presence, the way I move through life. I don’t have to summon it, dig deep or think about it. It just is. “Being calm” doesn’t feel like much of an offering, but people who know me seem to rely on it.
It’s definitely a gift!
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