When I was a kid, and growing up, I used to get really frustrated if I didn’t do something perfect the very first time. I also had no idea what I was good at. My extremely talented father used to tell me it was hard work and practice, and not dumb luck that made him good at his job. He tried to get me to see this in myself all the time. My mother is an incredibly talented seamstress, and even she had mentioned to me once she didn’t know what she was good at. It blew my mind. I remember thinking, “if anyone’s naturally talented – it’s you”. I used to ask God why everyone else was talented and I had nothing that was a discernible talent. Despite being an outgoing and strong person, there were nights that I cried tears of frustration at feeling like I failed, even in my early 20’s.
I had always been good at giving people pep talks, talking them through situations, and telling it like it is in a loving way. Throughout the years I have been told this is a quality people appreciate about me, but I never considered it a talent. Though I have always been extroverted, I never really had the confidence to believe I could do something. I mean really have that feeling of looking at something with 100% certainty I could pull it off. There were times I thought I might be able to do something but never 100%.
Then I got into my mid-twenties.
At 25 I got a little frustrated I couldn’t find body soap without 1,000 ingredients. I somehow knew inherently that couldn’t be the only way to make it and that all that junk didn’t need to be there. After all, soap had been made for centuries. It’s not like people were always dirty until it was mass produced. Then I saw handmade soap in a store and this bulb went off for the first time in my life where I thought, “I can do that.” I remember where I was standing at the exact moment it happened. I remember everything about it. There was no doubt. It was just a simple fact that I, Heather, could make soap – and I was going to. It was the first time I ever felt rock solid confidence. About 6 months later, the same “I can make this a business, and be successful” hit me. It was the same non-nonchalant solid confidence. This new feeling shook me to my core and was a catalyst to a huge change in me and my thinking.
My husband has this quiet confidence, and rock solid faith in his ability to do things. He sees something or thinks it, knows he can do it, and he does it. He has no doubt in his abilities. Though he’s modest, he doesn’t feel bad, or like he’s boasting if he agrees that he’s good at something. More people should be like this. I’m positive the last 8 years has rubbed off on me, and this was God’s intention.
Since that day this “I can do that” has happened a few times now. Sometimes I fail the first time but I no longer feel like a failure. I’ve found that the older I get the less I hear my inner voice say, “You didn’t get it right the first time, you’re a failure.” I’ve always tried to tell that voice to go to hell but frankly, but the older I get the less it’s even there. I remember having a chat with God a little while back and feeling deeply in my heart like he was saying, “I told you to just wait – and that you were good at things”. It was this day that I also realized my ability to help people talk through situations and see it from a different side is a talent of mine. I realized this was the natural talent God gave me right from the start. He knew I would come into my own and see it for myself. It was like he smacked his head when I realized I was actually good at things.
It’s not easy for me to actually come out and say, or write, “I’m good at something”. The truth is I find myself a little rough around the edges in some ways, but I also know I try to find the beauty in everything in life. I’m not saying I always know what to say and that I don’t mince words sometimes without intending to. I doubt in my abilities to knit anything more than a scarf and find it frustrating, I doubt whether I could successfully sew any clothing item from a pattern, I doubt whether I would totally screw up Le Boeuf Bourguignon or any other Julia Child’s recipe, and I still question myself too much in my daily job – which my boss told me, in nicer words, to knock it off because I know this stuff. I know I could never be a neurosurgeon, or a pilot, or a social worker professionally (it would stress me out), because these aren’t the talents God gave me.
What I’m trying to say is this – every single person has a talent, and we should embrace it. When that voice in you says, “I can do this” – don’t listen to the voice that says, “maybe not”. We all have things we aren’t meant to do, it doesn’t mean we’re deficient in some way, flawed or broken. It means we have to ignore that stuff, and that it might take us some time to be where we are suppose to in life to be able to see it for ourselves. I’m also realizing it’s okay to say you’re good at something, to believe in your abilities and yourself. It’s not cocky unless you let it be. It’s enough to know deep in your heart with rock solid confidence that you are good at something – even if you aren’t positive what that something is. You might find that your talents are as simple as making things by hand, giving good advice and having a heart a mile wide. Don’t feel deficient in this. We need people who love deeply in this world just as much as we need a cancer researcher. We need people who know how to carry on the traditions of the past in handmade stuff, so we don’t forget where we came from, simplicity in life, and that the world didn’t always feel like it was going a million miles an hour.
Embrace who you are, and don’t ever look back. God loves you, and me, and has given us the talents he did for a reason. No matter how minor they may seem, they are huge in the scheme of things. Remember there is beauty and purpose in things that may seem small.