Sunday, November 4, 2012

hard questions

Why is the question, "what are you good at" such a hard one to answer?

If someone asked me what my sister was good at, or what my best friend is good at I would have no problem answering. I could wax on about the virtues of those I love, but if I was asked to say what I think my own strengths or gifts are I wouldn't be able to answer with such certainty.

At church this morning we were asked to consider our gifts and how those may be a natural way to engage with our community. That makes sense to me. How much happier are you when you are doing something you love and when you are doing something you're good at?

But what if you can't pinpoint an area where you excel?

Don't get me wrong I don't think I am bad at everything, or that I have no talent or even that I have nothing to contribute but I still have a hard time answering the very straightforward question, "what are you good at?".

I've been thinking about this this afternoon and I think I know why I find it so hard. First, when I hear "what are you good at?" I think "what are you better than everyone else at" and the answer to that question for me, and for most people other than maybe Michelle Williams [best pixie cut] and Emily Dickinson [best use of the dash] is a resounding nothing. So if you happen to be even slightly competitive you may find yourself saying, I'm not the best in the world at "x" so I must not be very good. The examples I gave were extreme (who looks that pretty with short hair, seriously), but it is easy to compare ourselves to other people when we think about our own gifts -- not very helpful.

The second reason I think it is hard to say what you are good at is because it makes you vulnerable. What if I say I think my talent is baking, and you've tasted my cookies and you don't think they are that good? What if I say I think my talent is writing a blog and then you notice I really don't know how to use commas (which I actually don't -- those tricky buggers)? But if I don't say I think I am a gifted baker, or writer, or runner or whatever, then no one else can say "oh my gosh, Emily thinks she is so good and look at her mistakes/shortcomings/how much better I am than her." When I say this outloud it doesn't sound like something anyone I know would say, but those sort of worries have run through my head more than once. If I don't say it, no one can refute it?

Anyway, all of this to say I am trying to find my answer to the question, "what are you good at?" I don't think it is something I can figure out in one day. (If it was I would know my gift -- problem solving -- and as you and my grade nine math teacher know, that is not my speciality!)

So I guess I am going to ask for the confidence to know where my stengths lie and also that I might be the type of friend who helps other people see what they are good at.

That sounds nice on a chilly Sunday night.



ps -- here are some pictures from my weekend

{I love the French -- chocolate for breakfast}

{fuel for a man who does math all weekend}

{post work out high}

{three amigos -- just missing Wes}

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