By Shatyra Williams, MSW, RSW
Published: March 2014
Each one of us was eloquently created with unique talents, qualities, abilities, and strengths. Some are gifted with the ability to sing, dance, or act. Others specialize in writing, listening, or helping. Some are physically strong, others mentally strong. Some are great speakers, others are great planners. This article will explore the importance of cherishing our gifts and experiencing the joy these gifts were intended to produce in our lives.
Cherishing your gifts is about more than appreciating talents. In order to reap the full benefits of your natural given gifts there are three key actions that must be taken:
1. Unwrap your gift, 2. Experience your gift, 3. Protect your gift
Unwrap your Gift
If you were asked at this very moment to describe your unique gift(s) would you be able to do so? Do you know which qualities make you stand out from those around you? Have you acknowledged the things in life that come easy to you? We all have gifts and our ability to reach our full potential depends on us recognizing and utilizing these gifts.
Have you always gotten straight A’s without over exerting yourself? Do you climb the career ladder with ease? Are you the owner of that house in your neighbourhood that is always warm, welcoming, and inviting? These positions are not coincidences. Recognize your role in your life experience. Whether you have the charisma to sway a crowd, the voice to wow the church, or the strength to raise outstanding children, you are gifted.
Unwrapping your gift involves acknowledging your special quality, accepting your talent, and appreciating your gift.
To help identify areas in which you are gifted, ask yourself the following questions:
What talents have I received compliments about?
Which unique skills have I noticed come easy to me?
What do I find passion in doing?
In which areas of my life am I most able to express my creativity?
Experience your Gift
After reflecting on your life and the areas in which you naturally prosper, you may have now began to acknowledge your gift. Experiencing your gift is the next step. Some of our gifts are meant to be experienced personally while others are meant to be shared. If your gift is meant to be shared you may naturally have already been sharing it without even acknowledging it. Are you that friend who everybody calls for advice? By providing that advice you are sharing your gift. Perhaps your gift is natural athleticism. This type of gift can be experienced personally by you excelling in fitness goals, and can also be shared by you participating in professional athletic sports or teaching fitness classes.
Using your gift strengthens your skills. It allows you to reach greater depth of your talent. Discover how your gift can benefit you and help you grow as a person. Has your singing with your naturally angelic voice in church brought you closer to your religion? Has writing helped you better express yourself to others? Has your energetic personality gotten you many great employment opportunities? Have you maintained a happy marriage because of your excellent conflict resolution skills? Build on these skills and they will take you further than you have ever expected. Singing in the shower can become singing in a theatrical play. Helping a friend in need can turn into helping a client in need. Excellent photography skills can turn into a large photography enterprise. All of these successful outcomes begin with expanding our natural gifts.
Protect your Gift
Equally as important as experiencing the gift is protecting the gift. One very common mistake people make is abusing their gifts or allowing others to exploit them of their valuable abilities. A natural talent is given to enhance your life, to guide your life, to fulfill your life. It is not intended to overwhelm your life, subtract from your life, or disrupt your life. For example, you may have been given the gift helpfulness. You are able to quickly find solutions for the problems of others and enjoy supporting those who reach out for help. Protecting this talent involves making sure to engage in helpfulness in healthy way; such as taking time to help yourself, being able to know who and when it is appropriate for you to help, and knowing when you have helped enough. A simple way to recognize whether you are engaging in your talent in a healthy way is by self-reflecting on the impacts your talent is having on your life. For example, is your business oriented talent resulting in you neglecting your health? , Is your gift of good listening skills resulting in you feeling overwhelmed? , is your ability to make people laugh causing you to not be taken seriously?
Protecting your gift involves channeling your skills in the right direction, creating a balanced life that accommodates your gift, and allowing yourself space to grow in other areas of your life. If use of your gift is stunting your growth in other areas of life, this simply means that you need to re-evaluate the way in which you are using your gift. Cherish your gifts and build on your precious talents. You have the power to excel in life and exercising your strengths will take you there. Look inward and find the confidence to shine.
Shatyra Williams MSW, RSW is a Toronto-based Social Worker with a passion for women's wellness. As Program Manager of RWRJ's Artistic Healing Group, Shatyra teaches healthy coping strategies for women survivors of trauma. Through a variety of creative educational techniques Shatyra helps women to challenge themselves, to embrace their imperfections, and to love their journey.
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