We all have something that makes us uniquely ourselves. It is one of the beauties of human creation that we are all different, and yet we are all the same, but our attitudes about who we are and our worth in this life can and will affect our health and happiness.
It is my habit to spend at least part of every day putting pen to paper because that is who I am. If in the process, I am able to write something that is of value for others that makes it all the better, and I feel that my time has been well spent. It helps me to feel fulfilled and to have value.
We are all important to the circle of life, but sometimes we may be tempted to nullify our gifts and talents because they aren’t the ones valued by our current society. When viewed through the lens of hindsight however it becomes clear that different societies, in different times and places, value whatever talents are necessary to succeed in that environment. But that doesn’t mean that all talents are not of value. The trouble with people is that we tend to focus on those that are of most value to society at large, and not on the talent itself and its benefit to the individual and their eternal progress.
In an earlier time when technology was still on the horizon one of the talents that were valued most by communities was farming. It provided food for the family as well as a cash crop that brought some money in that could be used for the things they could not produce for themselves. In addition to being able to grow food for their family men needed carpentry skills to build furniture. Only the wealthiest could afford to purchase furniture made by someone else. They would also need to know how to repair whatever tools they had that might break over time.
A skilled cobbler who would travel from town to town was essential because you couldn’t just drive to the local shoe store to try on a wide assortment of shoes like we can today. The same was true of tinsmiths, and other skilled craftsman of the day. In big cities these artisans and businessmen would set up shops, but in more spread out communities they would travel from town to town to sell their wares.
Women were expected to have multiple talents, but only a small percentage earned their living this way. For the most part women, married or not, worked in their homes. Not only were they primarily responsible for cooking and preserving food for their family, as well as keeping the home clean, they also needed sewing skills since most women made the clothing for their entire family.
Women cared for their children as well. And in less affluent families who could not afford tutors or a governess, the women also educated their children.
They made most of their own household goods as well. For example, if a women wanted curtains for the windows she had to make them herself. If she wanted to keep her floors warm in winter she made carpets out of worn out clothing. It was essential that a young women be trained in many ways if she were to help keep her family comfortable.
These are just a few of the skills and talents that were required to make life run smoothly in an earlier era. While our needs are different today we still need to use our skills and talents to make our lives what they are, and we all have talents that help to contribute to our families and communities.
As technology was developed, needs shifted and different skills were required for daily life.
While many people today have gardens, most of us do not need to grow all of our food, and though sewing is not a lost art, if we need new clothes, or furnishings for our homes we usually drive to a nearby store that will have all that we need and more available on their shelves. It is no longer essential to have those earlier skills for everyday life that our ancestors did. But we are no less talented than they were.
Many of the skills that we are expected to refine in our modern world are less hands on, and more analytical. And in many fields it is highly competitive and stressful as people strive to out do each other to get to the top.
We live in a very competitive society, but true talents do not lose their value from one generation to the next, and fashion is a fickle master.
We need to be careful not to judge our value by someone else’s yard stick, for if we do we will nearly always come up lacking. It’s just the way of the world that there will always be someone who can do it better. Contrary to what the world would tell us however, we only need to compete with ourselves, doing a little bit better than we did the day, or week, or month before.
Louisa M. Alcott, the author of the incredibly popular book Little Women, said this about striving toward fulfilling our dreams and ambitions.
“Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations.
I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty,
Believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.”
She knew that even though we may not achieve our goal of being the best, we can reach for the best and enjoy whatever level of accomplishment we are able to attain, without looking back, and without regrets.
Beethoven believed he could change the world with his music. Even though he lost his hearing, a true calamity for a composer/musician, he continued to reach for the best that was in him and brought forth some of his greatest music after he could no longer hear a note of it outside of his own head.
I may not be the best at what I do, but I can find true happiness and contentment in doing things to the best of my ability. As I have progressed through life I have come to realize that I’m not in competition with anyone but myself, and the only person I have to be better than in the end is me.
It is a comforting concept to understand, and if you can truly embrace this truth it will bring peace and understanding to your life. You will be less stressed and more content with your life, and that is the path to a happy purpose filled life, the life that I believe our Heavenly Father wants us to have.
So reach for those stars, and never settle for less than you can be, keeping all in balance. Find happiness in the little things that others deem beneath their notice and live life as if it were a gift, because after all, it is!
Denise is a Michigander turned Pennsylvanian, who has been writing stories since Elementary School. Denise won an award at the annual Lansing Youth Talent Show, when she was in 10th grade, for a short story entitled Procrastination is Fatal, but didn’t decide on writing as a career until she was 28 years old. While homeschooling her older children she spent 4 years working through a course from The Institute of Children’s Literature. Through the years Denise’s children have had a variety of health issues, many of which have been linked to various sensitives; having spent more than 20 years researching and trying different things Denise has a boots on the ground view on healthier living. Denise currently writes for 2 blogs and has several books in different stages of completion. She is planning to break ground in e publishing, and hopes to have her first Historical Fantasy book which is set during the renaissance, “Lisa, My Lisa?” ready by the first of the year.