Actual conversation from a brave friend’s Facebook page.
It started with this post from her:
“I wonder why it’s so easy to see other people’s gifts and not our own…”
Two women responded with “Good question” and “Very good question.”
Then a woman replied: “Not to brag or anything but, I’ve been through some pretty tough 💩 these past two years. So, I see a few of mine recently. But I do know what you mean. I promise I do!!!”
A guy ventured an answer, “Human nature to want what we don’t have.”
Then another woman, “I haven’t figured out mine yet either.”
Then oddly (or at least I found it odd) my own husband entered a response.
“I think we discount our gifts because we’re wrapped up in what we don’t do well or what gifts we wish we had.”
I couldn’t resist replying now so I said,
“Exactly. We know our flaws which others blessedly cannot see. But because we know them we also fixate on them. And again, most others don’t even notice.”
My friend asked,
“but they notice our gifts…how come we don’t believe people when they point out our gifts? Are our flaws that blinding to ourselves?”
“I think we are too comfortable with our shame. Shame feels comforting, like we are sparing the world of our flaws by shaming ourselves. Meanwhile we are sparing the world of our gifts. For example (that I just experienced today), I made someone a Christmas wreath. It is full of flaws. I wish it turned out differently. Yet when I give it later today I have to accept the gushing compliments because the receiver will probably not even see the flaws. If I point them out, she will see the flaws. So I must shut up, stop the shame, and accept the compliments (which are true).”
Oh yes, I went Bravester on Facebook. I couldn’t help myself.
Another lady then added,
“Speaking for myself…I think the older I get the more I appreciate my ‘gifts’ and am happy for others but have learned to appreciate mine.”
My friend who started all this then asked this question,
“Was there a time you didn’t? Did that shift in appreciating your own gifts come from outside sources or inside yourself? Or a combo?”
Great question! We women want to know!
My friend then posted,
“My dilemma is…can I help others see their gifts or does that have to come from inside themselves?”
This is when the conversation got real. And helpful.
A woman replied,
“I think it comes from within – but is helped by people who offer feedback. I mean if we feel something about ourselves, and enough people tell us “You’re so_____” or “when I’m with you I feel_________” we start accepting that as confirmation. I think some people need less of that confirmation and some need more–and unfortunately it works both ways. Negative or positive. I read once that our fight, freeze, or flight response could indicate that our brains are naturally negatively wired – that to survive, they have to expect the worst – which means we need to work extra hard to be positive minded. Some seasons that’s easy. Some seasons, it’s really hard.”
My friend replied,
“Thanks for that!! It makes sense that we are naturally negatively wired and have to make an extra effort to be positive…maybe it’s harder for some than others too. Season to season and person to person, based on our experiences. Good to keep in mind!”
The last woman replied again, “I totally get your question! I’m following this post in hopes someone has an answer.”
That triggered me. I think I have something of an answer. But entering this onto social media where answers are not received, distorted, blown out of context, etc.??? Could some Bravester truth be helpful?
I gingerly posted this answer not wanting to be an answer know-it-all but really believing what I write about and bravely wondering if this was a moment to share this truth.
“Season to season and person to person is so true. Then there is this. We were all created in God’s image. But there is a force out there that wants to destroy God. The battle has shifted from trying to destroy God (lost on Easter) to trying to destroy the image of God. This is why I think we struggle with the negative but are actually wired with the truth that we were created intentionally and purposely. To internalize that truth is a lifelong process. At least true in my life.”
That killed the conversation train. Killed or properly ended it. I don’t know.
I’ve written two articles that are highly personal (here and here) but also contain some steps and some thoughts to help you see your gifts and your purpose in this world. May you be inspired. May the steps lead you to see your gifts.