I have been keeping a journal on a community of fitness minded folks. The things I have posted about are things that I struggled with at one time, still struggle with, or things I have learned during that journey. People thank me for the inspiring posts I put there.
I remember when I was a kid, feeling shy and insecure and terrified if anyone came toward me because I might actually have to talk with them. Yet at the same time, I felt alone. I’ve felt alone in fitness struggles, self-esteem issues, and other areas too. I appreciate the folks who pushed, pulled, and even shoved me out of my comfort zone and encouraged me along the way. Because I know how that felt for me, I strive to encourage others even if all it is is a listening ear or a virtual hug. I am still humbled, and very honored, when someone lets me know that it helped them.
I have a strong sense of empathy. People say I understand them, that I know what they are feeling, and thank me for just being there for them. Sometimes, my words help them figure out how to express what they couldn’t.
Mom thanks me often for opening my home to her. To be honest, it is a mutually beneficial arrangement. She is my inspiration and I hope to “grow up” like her. She helps me around the house, and I know I am there for her as she has been there for me my entire life.
I hate “blowing my own horn”, so a topic such as this makes me a bit uncomfortable. Okay. A LOT uncomfortable. And I’m sure it shows above in the choppy, disconnected writing. But again, I understand the value of it.
First, we should celebrate our victories, both big and small! Achievements motivate us. The popular concept of “fixing our weaknesses” implies that something is broken. Instead, we should take the viewpoint that we are all unique, we each have different strengths, and can use those strengths. We are not “broken” or in need of “fixing” just because we don’t fit someone else’s model. Even your body has different parts that all work together, different senses that provide varied input. SO much more is true of people, and we should focus on how wonderful that is. Celebrate YOU! Celebrate what you have accomplished and what you excel at.
Second, the Live Your Legend site from which these writing prompts come is aimed at people finding the work they love doing, that thing they “can’t NOT do”. If you look at what people already thank you for, it can give insight to what you’re doing already that may be part of that. What people thank you for is something that you do naturally, something you probably do even though you don’t get paid to do it (or would do so if you do get paid for it). It points to things you care about enough to make sure you do well.
It doesn’t matter WHAT that is. You could be the best busboy at a local restaurant, an efficient and pleasant checker at the store, or a genius at programming. What matters is that you find value in it, and do whatever it is with a giving attitude. You provide a valuable “service” and others will find value in it as well. (By the way, if some people thank you for it, chances are there are also others who value this about you even if they don’t say so. You could be doing a lot more good than you know.)