However, identifying our gifts can be so hard at times that we may feel like we don’t have any at all. The world we live in is one of so much exhibitionism and competitiveness that it can make us feel like we could never measure up to the perfection we see when we browse Instagram and TikTok.
Everyone just seems a little bit better at singing, running, drawing, doing make-up or writing blog posts than us and, in this culture of comparison, it’s hard not to become disheartened or jealous. For this reason we can often be tempted to keep our gifts and passions to ourselves, scared we’ll be outshone by someone else.
I love music and singing – especially jazz and funk! When I first moved to university I joined a jazz society, hoping to share my passion amongst other musicians after years of lessons and practice. Every Tuesday night the jazz society held an open jam session where anyone could take part, stepping up to the stage to play with other musicians. I went along to this night every week for 2 years, watching others with amazing gifts perform and thinking ‘How on earth could I ever get up there and do that with all these amazingly talented people watching?’ A few times I braved it on stage but was always so disappointed in myself after I performed because I felt everyone else was better than me. After 2 years like this, I gave up on the jazz society. I was tired of comparing myself and had lost the joy in music that I once had.
Returning to uni the following year, a few of my musician mates sent me a message ‘Would you be up for singing in our band? Our singer has dropped out and we’d love you to join us.’ I couldn’t believe it! After years of comparing myself and feeling inadequate, others had seen my passion and approached me to be in their band.
I’d never felt particularly gifted as a singer but they’d seen something in me that made them want to support and involve me. They’d never compared me to the other singers, in their eyes I was a good singer in my own right.
Wait – did I just say I’m a good singer?! Can I say that? Why are we so reluctant to admit we’re good at something? I think it’s because we don’t want to seem proud or boastful, we don’t want to be proved wrong, and we don’t want someone to be better than us. But here’s the thing: we can be good at something without having to compare ourselves to others!
Our gifts are unique and we work hard to refine them so let’s celebrate them and the joy they bring to our lives! I am a good singer because I’ve practiced hard, I’ve invested time into honing my skills, I love singing, and it’s part of who I am. I don’t have to be as good at singing as someone else because I’m as good as me.
So don’t be afraid to step up and share your gift. When we express what truly energises us we never know who we might inspire or release to do the same. You could brighten someone’s day, you could connect with like-minded people, you could see your own self-confidence rocket! You have your gift for a reason. Now share it with the world because you are as good as you – and that’s pretty awesomely good!