What gifts are you giving?
Giving and receiving gifts can produce a variety of responses from pleasure and excitement to anxiety and dread. They can communicate a great deal – an expression of love and thoughtfulness, a demonstration of wealth, a token gesture, an expression of taste, or just an expensive duty…
Sharing our personal ‘gifts’ or talents can create similar dilemmas.
Being ‘gifted’ is usually associated with great talent, exceptional ability and skill – something which you either have or you don’t which comes naturally (and is then honed by practice and repetition). We tend to find the gifts of others inspiring, and make heroes and heroines of those who achieve things we admire or would like to achieve for ourselves. They engage our emotions, we feel enthusiasm, and we become fans, followers, admirers.
Recognising our own gifts can be hard – we don’t like to ‘show off’, we are afraid of setting ourselves up for a fall, or we think that because they are things that just come naturally to us that they are nothing special. Accepting our own gifts also brings us the responsibility of using and developing them, and risking their rejection. Sometimes it’s easier to sit in the shadows of perceived failure than to shine in the limelight of acknowledged success.
Here are some questions you could ask yourself to help you discover your own gifts:
- When do you feel most alive?
- What do you do that makes you feel good about yourself?
- Is there a common thread in the things that family, friends and colleagues appreciate or admire about you?
- What comes easily to you – but also absorbs and fascinates you?
- What do you believe you were born to do?
Just as the gifts of the people we admire inspire us – our own life inspiration is connected with discovering the things which fill us with enthusiasm and pleasure, and which engage our emotions –our gifts. If we can develop and express them, others will be touched by them and will receive our ‘gift’ to them.
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