What Unique Gifts Are You Hiding from the Rest of Us?

African woman kneeing soccer ballDo you bake the best cookies? Can you do math in your head? Are you compassionate? An artist? An engineer? A loving friend? You are probably many wonderful things, some of which you only sheepishly share.

How could that be?

What would compel you to hide your light under a bushel?

Maybe you were shot down during childhood when you sang for a part in the school musical. Or you flubbed a presentation. Perhaps someone told you that you could never do X, Y, or Z and you believed it. Whatever the cause of your unwillingness to shine, whether outright derision or a more subtle lack of encouragement, it doesn’t serve you to hoard your talents and abilities.

Sharing who you are enriches everyone. Whether it’s your smile, sense of humor, or budgetary skills, you offer something that can enhance the world. You may never know the effect you have, as even the recipients of your largesse may not be aware of the gifts they have received.

Not only does hiding your unique gifts impoverish others, it diminishes you. You miss out on the joy of sharing, the uplifting feeling of making a difference, and the self-improvement that naturally comes from practicing what you do best.

At what do you excel? Think about it. Go through your history, from childhood to now, and ask yourself what you truly enjoyed. Many people naturally love what they do well. Write down as many things as you can recall.

Once you have made a list, ask yourself how freely you share those passions and talents. One of the most fulfilling ways we can connect with others is to give what we do best. Are you a great hugger? Hug more people! Are you the best physicist? Share what you love about science and inspire others to see its beauty. Love to meditate? Join a mediation group.

It doesn’t matter how you bring your gifts to light; it matters that you do.

It doesn’t matter how you bring your gifts to light; it matters that you do.

Another way people hide their light is by stockpiling all the compliments they never shared. How many times have you thought:

He looks especially vibrant or handsome today.

I love how she can fix anything.

That was such a delicious dinner.

They are so thoughtful, kind, considerate, smart, intuitive, sensitive, funny, hard-working, generous, etc.

Conversely, it’s important to be able to take a compliment. Why? Because graciously accepting praise makes someone else feel as if his or her opinion and feedback count.

When in doubt, you can always resort to smiling. Simply smiling at someone will change your brain chemistry and the other person’s day.

Appreciating each other and sharing our gifts can and will make the world a better place. It feels so good and life-affirming, too.

Come out from under that bushel and let your light shine.

© Copyright 2015 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Nicole Urdang, MS, NCC, DHM, LMHC, therapist in Buffalo, New York

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Tommie

    Tommie

    July 16th, 2015 at 8:32 AM

    A big part of it is that we hide those talents because we are either afraid that someone will think that we are bragging or they will use it against us to then take advantage of us.

  • Anna

    Anna

    July 16th, 2015 at 3:48 PM

    I guess in my own mind I know that I have so many things that I can offer to others, but there are those times when it feels easier to be a shrinking violet than it is to toot your own horn. I want to stay modest and yet I want others to know my creative side too, so it can be tricky for me to always balance that out.

  • Nicole

    Nicole

    July 17th, 2015 at 10:49 AM

    Hi Tommie,
    I think there’s a big difference between healthy self-confidence and arrogance. The confident person can readily admit when they don’t know something.
    As to someone using something against you that you have offered up in a generous sincere way, that’s their issue, not yours.

  • Nicole

    Nicole

    July 17th, 2015 at 10:52 AM

    Hi Anna,
    Once again, this is really not about tooting your own horn, but openly sharing your gifts.
    By expressing your unique talents you enrich everyone.

  • richard

    richard

    July 17th, 2015 at 10:53 AM

    Don’t you find that it is quite common for others to easily be able to point out to us these amazing talents that they see that we have and yet when we look at it ourselves, we don’t see any of these things that others do? Isn’t that just the way it goes in a person who is humble and good, that they rarely see those same things as gifts the same way that other people will view that in them.

  • Nicole

    Nicole

    July 17th, 2015 at 1:29 PM

    Hi Richard,
    Actually, I think if someone believes recognizing good qualities in himself means he is arrogant or conceited then he will surely downplay them, even to himself. But assessing one’s strengths and weaknesses can be a very valuable exercise as it enables people to celebrate and share their gifts while acknowledging areas they might want to improve.

  • Richard

    Richard

    July 18th, 2015 at 8:25 AM

    Oh yeah I definitely think that it is a strong person who can know themselves as a well as their talents but who can also remain down to earth and willing to give of themselves all at the same time.

  • cate

    cate

    July 20th, 2015 at 10:33 AM

    why hide those things that we do best?

  • Nicole

    Nicole

    July 21st, 2015 at 3:19 PM

    Hi Cate,
    Sometimes, people hide their talents and strengths because they are afraid of seeming too full of themselves, arrogant, or obnoxious.
    On the other hand, they may not recognize their gifts for what they are.

  • Zack

    Zack

    July 23rd, 2015 at 4:15 PM

    This is an important point that I think sometimes get lost in the conversation, the fact that this is something that can enrich the lives of so many others. So in some ways if you think about it, it is almost selfish to NOT share those with everyone right? :)

  • Nicole

    Nicole

    July 24th, 2015 at 4:59 AM

    Hi Zack,
    Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. Of course, I wholeheartedly agree!

  • Ada

    Ada

    July 25th, 2015 at 11:32 AM

    No it isn’t selfish- this could be my thing and i may not want to share

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