One thing I've noticed, however, is how easy it is to feel inferior - to doubt my abilities, and to be afraid to try. Once I start a project, I seem to be able to gain the momentum I need, but oh, how hard it is to start sometimes! I circled this particular project for weeks before I was able to start it. I could see it all in my head, but I was so afraid that I wouldn't be able to do it after all my brave talk.
I think we, as women, do this to ourselves a lot. We're afraid we won't measure up, that our result will be inferior, or even ridiculous. One thing I do a lot is picture people I haven't met, or things I haven't yet seen on a much grander scale than they really are. I'm completely intimidated before I'm even out of the gate. And because I do this a lot, I'm slowly learning that most people are people pretty much like myself, and not intimidating at all. Friendly, likeable. And usually, they even like me.
New situations are likewise usually very friendly and easily handled. Why is it that we so often talk ourselves into thinking that other people are so much more talented than we are? That they have so much more to offer, that they are better cooks, or that the color they pick out for their walls is so much more creative than what we would have picked out, that the cookies they bake will be softer and tastier than those we'll bake? And, (to carry it a step further) even if that were the case, why do we think it even matters? A plate of cookies from someone is a welcome joy, whether they look like they're professionally decorated, or whether they look like a 5 year old decorated them. What matters is that someone thought to give them. To YOU. That is what we need to remember. No matter what our gift or offering or talent, sharing it with others is important. Not only does it bring happiness to those we share it with, it lets our hearts grow as well. Case in point: I play the piano in Primary, in singing time for kids ages 4 through 11. I was not thankful to get this calling. I have not been particularly thankful that I can play the piano, period. Mostly, this is all I am ever asked to do. So when I was asked to do it this latest time, I wasn't happy. When I was younger, the pianist in Primary was always an older woman who was slightly less active at church. And now, here I am, that older woman with a complex that I am someone like that less active sister - someone they don't know what else to do with.
I pouted through the first few months, but lately I've taken to remembering my patriarchal blessing in which I was told that I should share my talents willingly. And I certainly wasn't doing that. So lately I've tried to be better. I'm trying to be an outstanding pianist. Give those four year olds their money's worth, so to speak. Learn their names, be more involved. In the process, I've been more happy to be there. And hopefully I've been less cranky and more likeable. When I started, I felt like the only "older" person in the room, and I was letting that make me feel inferior and intimidated. Out of place.
I was talking to someone a couple of days ago, and she expressed the same kind of feelings of inferiority. Hers may have been related to different things, but in the end it affects us the same: it cripples us, and inhibits our ability to give our best selves. It prevents us from reaching our goals, and keeps us from learning and growing. Pride and insecurity go hand in hand, and neither one have any place in our lives for longer than the second it takes to banish them from our thoughts.
And while we're banishing them from our own lives, why not take every opportunity to banish them from someone elses? Give compliments freely. Give them away with reckless abandon. There have been many times when I've been afraid to compliment a total stranger on their cute haircut, or their great service, or their pretty smile - afraid they'd think I was wierd or goofy. But one thing I've found is that there's virtually no one who doesn't need and/or enjoy compliments. We all have bad days, we all need our egos stroked, and our confidence bolstered. It's a simple little pleasure that costs us nothing to give, and the benefits are HUGE. We are here on earth to help each other through our time here. To pick each other up, to show love and encouragement for efforts made, to applaud successes. We won't make it alone. We do need each other. Give others your gift. Be it humble or grand, a gift is wonderful just in the giving.
I hope you're each one having a wonderful Christmas season so far. Be happy with the things you do, and with the unique person that is you. Because there is no one quite like you anywhere else. A precious gift, indeed.
This post is made in grateful thanks to Sister Glenna G., who is always generous when gifting others with her wonderful compliments. She inspires me through her actions, as well as her lovely words. I always feel amazing and capable after a conversation with Glenna, as well as very lucky to know her.