I came across this quote from Albert Einstein:  ‎”Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”  This quote was sent out by my friend Bonnie who has a wonderful website here:

The quote made me think about what it means to judge others. We all have talents; but we also tend to measure our talents by what talents others have. That is wrong! I used to look at others and wish I had their talents. It took me a long time to realize that mine were just as good as theirs, just different.

We generally tend to see others as either ‘like us’ or ‘unlike us’, and those who are unlike are somehow less than we are. I truly believe that everyone has a place in the great scheme of things.

When I was growing up, I was taught that those who had little or no book learning were somehow deficient and to be pitied. My mother often belittled herself because she had to quit school at 14 to take care of her mother who had a heart condition. My dad was an engineer and well-educated; he often made it clear he despised those who were not well-educated. Growing up in this environment, I learned that lots of education was good; lack of it was bad. But my mom had many talents she didn’t recognize as such; she was able to stretch money so we were never hungry; she was an accomplished knitter; she was great at decorating our home on a shoestring.

I think of the Welsh miners who were often unschooled yet had beautiful voices, formed choirs, and gave performances that made people cry to hear them. Their harmonies were so pure, and they put their hearts and souls into singing to give joy to others. There are so many examples like this, it would take way too long to write about them all.

The point is, we all have talents that we may not see as important, but they are. Some people are great at organizing, others have creative talents, like my friend Jenna who is a wonderful artist and has a great eye for color, shape, and form. Others I know have the gift of being a great friend.

It is so easy to look at another person and wish we could do what they do. By doing that, we are ignoring our own talents. We each have things we do well and enjoy. Just imagine what the world would be like if we were all equally talented in the same thing! So much would be lost.

Celebrate your gifts!

Self Worth

Are you your own best friend? If not, why not? We tend to go through life looking for validation from others; only when others like us or compliment us do we feel worthwhile. If this is you, perhaps you need to change how you think about yourself. I know many people in less than ideal circumstances who love themselves; and I know people with all the advantages in the world who hate themselves. So circumstances don’t always affect how we view ourselves. So what is it that makes someone comfortable in his/her own skin?

For a long time, I was the community doormat – really. I tried to please everyone so they would like me; whatever they wanted, I would do. I was in my 40s before I woke up and realized I was exhausted, depressed, and so sick and tired of being sick and tired. I allowed people to treat me as if I were their servant; and because I had no self-esteem, nobody else thought I was worth anything, either.

Change came slowly over several years, and it wasn’t easy. I went to college for the first time at 39, in spite of those who told me I was stupid for wasting my time on education and that I was too old to go to college.  Well, guess what, I wasn’t stupid and I wasn’t too old. I earned my AA while going to school full time and working full time. I loved school and learning! So I decided to keep going; I earned a BA 3 years later. And that’s how I ended up in Arizona, alone, not knowing anyone, and starting graduate school, at the ripe old age of 44. I earned my MA two years later and haven’t looked back. Oh, there are still times when the self doubts kick in, but they no longer have power over me and my attitude. When I start doubting myself, I bring out my accomplishment list, and it’s a long one. It covers everything from raising two wonderful sons to being a good mentor to others; from being a good nurse in my first career to being a decent human being who loves helping others.

It is difficult, still, to toot my own horn. But if I don’t do it, who will? And if I don’t take care of me first, how can I take care of anyone else? I still have difficulty accepting compliments, but I have learned to just say ‘thank you’ instead of being self-deprecating. I have my affirmations and accomplishments to look at when I start being down on myself. And yes, I am my own best friend.

I no longer think that doing things I want or need to do is selfish; I am just taking care of me; I am just recharging my batteries. I will never, ever, be someone’s doormat again!