Isn’t it funny how we often underestimate how well we really know ourselves? Do you have that one person in your life who cannot make a single decision without the go-ahead from a trusted friend or loved one? I remember being one of those people, and I probably developed the habit from my mother, who is still that way. When asked the question, “What are you good at?” the answers may vary from person to person. Some will talk about their athletic ability. Others, about their cooking or baking skills, and many more who will claim that there isn’t anything in particular they excel at. I may have come back with a similar answer a year or more ago. What’s interesting is that few people will speak to their intrinsic capabilities; their ability to communicate well, their overly-genuine personality, or their innate desire to help even a complete stranger.
Perhaps if we try rephrasing the question, we illicit a different response? Instead of asking what someone is good at, ask them why people thank them. This gives them permission to brag about their good qualities without owning the perspective that they are “good at it.” Why we’re afraid to shine is beyond me, but it often helps to have a narrative with which we can observe our unique qualities, and not have to feel as though we’re being narcissistic.
I’m often thanked for my patience and understanding, although I don’t consider myself to be a patient person. I’ve been told many times that I am appreciated for doing thoughtful things, or going out of my way to make others more comfortable. I agree that I’m a pretty skilled advice-giver, as I have learned to choose my words very carefully, but also maintain honesty. It would be accurate to say that those around me look to me to guide them and teach them.
The first thing I try to do when faced with less-than-ideal circumstances is to try and evaluate the situation from the perspective of the person whose “fault” it is. Is this person causing me grief on purpose? Is this person apologetic for the situation? Does this person cause me problems regularly? Answering these questions for myself helps me to determine whether or not the situation is worth fighting or agonizing over. When offering advice or suggestions to others, I think I take care in matching the person’s body language allowing me to connect with them a little deeper, and make them feel a little more comfortable.
I genuinely like helping others. I am happy if I can make someones life easier. Whether it’s a just a little, or a very big, significant amount, the level of personal satisfaction it brings me is unmatched. That is why I chose to do my undergrad in Social Work. Soon, I plan to travel the world teaching English to those who might not otherwise have the opportunity. When I return, the plan is to pursue a career as a life coach, helping others see open avenues in their lives where they might not have seen them before. Teaching, coaching, helping- those are all things I’m thanked for, and I’m thankful for that.