Finding Our Unique Gifts

I’m learning to take better care of myself these days. One woman in particular has been influential in helping me to understand the importance of that self care as an investment in my health and quality of life.

She’s the massage therapist I started to see initially as the result of a workplace injury but now visit on a regular basis. Although she would hesitate to use the term, she is without a doubt a healer. She has this innate intuitiveness that allows her to unerringly zero-in on the part of my body that has absorbed the most stress, wear and tear since my last visit. Part massage, part acupuncture, part reflexology, part magic, she somehow manages to release the kinks and tensions that twist and skew my body. I leave her office feeling relaxed and pretty much believing that all is well with the world. Although I used to think a massage was decadent and self indulgent, it now seems a small price to pay for such a euphoric return.

It is also important to know that she is a bright, warm, kind and spirited woman who projects an aura of positive energy and joy even when all may not be right within her world. She’s become a good friend and our visits now often reflect deep and insightful conversations.

AIong the way I’ve also seen how her intuition, sensitivity and spirituality can also leave her open and vulnerable because her intelligence translates to her being a tuning fork and one who sees, hears and feels far more than most. Ironically, she doesn’t see herself as particularly intelligent or gifted, and, is almost too modest for her own good. By her own admission, she has yet to embrace that she deserves good people and good things in her life. When I asked why this was the case she suggested it was likely due to the fact that she was always seen as being different. As a young girl who was often dreamy, imaginative and distracted, the other pragmatic Newfoundlanders within her large family would refer to her as “poor Bev” shaking their collective heads wondering what on earth would ever become of her. As Bev put it, “I was a weird child, I talked to buttons for heaven’s sake!”

This lack of acceptance by her family may be an example of a mistake many of us make us parents. Rather than embrace our children as they are, our tendency is instead to raise our children to accept our own values, thinking, and behaviours. In fact it may be more important to honour each child’s own unique personality traits, preferences and tendencies. After all, our self-esteem and confidence is rooted in being recognized and valued for who we are. If others don’t validate who we are and our unique gifts, it is likely we won’t value ourselves either. We are therefore at risk for (a) either accepting the values and behaviours of others as our own instead of developing our own independent thinking or (b) rebelling and acting out just to maintain a sense of our identity. My guess is that Bev chose the former and tried to conform. That might explain why she worked for Revenue Canada for years sublimating her unique gifts in an effort to do what others thought of as normal.

So where does Bev go from here?  I’m not sure but perhaps she can do for herself what her parents might have done as she was growing up if they’d had different knowledge and experience.  Maybe if she listens, really listens to know and accept her unique passion and gifts, she will be able to provide the undivided, non-judgmental attention that will ensure she knows her voice is important and worthy of being heard.


Posted on 07-05-09

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