When life throws you lemons, thank it for the snack

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Skills, Abilities, Talents

[I'm not going to get into the specifics of the differences between skills, abilities, and talents; that's the purpose of my Psychology Vocab blog.]

I know talents are gifts from God. I also know that they don't mean much unless they are 1) honed with practice and/or 2) shared with others. I don't really put much stock in my own abilities, skills, or talents. I have come to accept them, though, after 30+ years honing them. If someone were to ask me what I can do, I would probably list sewing, baking, using Microsoft Office products. Well, I do occasionally admit that I sing, but I'm not going to do it professionally or even in a leading capacity. Maybe I have other talents, but these are my go-to skills. These are the ones I associate with myself. Where am I going with this?

On Friday we had an impromptu potluck breakfast of sorts in my training class. There really wasn't a set occasion, though we initially used the birthday of one of the class (it was over two weeks ago) as an excuse. Our trainer said she really wanted a sour-cream pound cake. She asked me if I baked. She also asked others if they baked, but no one said they did. I said I did and told her I baked cakes, cookies, etc. and she got excited. So, naturally, I volunteered to bring in the sour cream pound cake, even though I've never made a pound cake before, and my usual recipe--chipless chocolate chip cookies. I messed up the pound cake a little--forgot to add the vanilla--but that didn't seem to matter. Those in the class who knew about pound cakes (I guess they have a lot of experience with them) said that mine was great. One classmate even asked if I could make one for her father's 60th birthday party next month and offered to pay me for it. When they praised me I guess I looked sort of nonchalant about it, like it was no big deal. Perhaps I came off like Bender, as if I knew I was great.

The truth of the matter is, I take my skills for granted. Some things work well for me. There are some things that seem intuitive and the directions are easy to follow. Baking and sewing are the main things that fall into this category. It's not that I feel I'm the greatest ever at these arenas, far from it! It's more that I feel that I can do them, so they must not be extremely special. I do recognize that not everyone has these abilities and I don't value my skills so low that I assume if I can do it then anyone can. Yet, I've finally come to a point in life in which I accept what I can do. I am humbled and feel good when someone praises me (especially when they thank me) for my work. At the same time, though, I don't need endless accolades. At the end of the day I am satisfied knowing that someone enjoyed my handiwork and I am more grateful that I was able to add some positivity to their lives.

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