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Seeing Ourselves


The notion of seeing ourselves as other see us is often taken to mean we should think what we could do to improve ourselves. We're somehow conditioned to believe that we look bad or inadequate in the eyes of others.

Something I've realized over the years, though, is that frequently others hold a higher opinion of us than we do of ourselves. And we should listen to those people!

No doubt there is room for improvement in each of us, at some point. And I agree that we shouldn't get too comfortable on our laurels. Nor should we take our talents for granted. And of course I'm not suggesting arrogance.

But all of us need to get to a point where we recognize and appreciate our talents. We need to realize that our gifts can have, and probably are having, an impact on someone.

And while I'm on the subject: talent is whatever you're good at.

That leads me to the notion of intimidation, which can be a very soul-shattering thing. It can hold us back from sharing our talents.

Twenty years or so ago I met and subsequently made friends with a musician whose talents and knowledge intimidated me deeply. I kept my mouth shut about feeling inadequate, though, because I didn't want to wind up looking stupid in his eyes.

I worked with him in several musical venues, each time gathering up my courage and vowing to do the best that I could, no matter that I thought he was a million times better than I.

I needn't have worried so much about being inadequate. Several years into knowing him, he told me that the specific things I'm good at in music are the very things that he wished he could do.

I learned a lesson: don't be so intimidated. Accept your talents and gifts with some grace, and use them in the way that means the most to you.

See yourself as others truly do see you.

Rebecca Carpenter is owner of  Rebecca of Many Trades. She lives and works in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina, where she settled after graduation from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  You can reach Rebecca at www.rebeccaworks.com.  


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