When I woke up this morning I knew I wanted to write something about how quick we are to see the negative in our lives and in ourselves and how seldom we celebrate ourselves or feel bad talking about something that went well for us. We can shout it from the rooftops for family or friends but all too often we can’t do the same for ourselves. Many of us have negative loops that play in our head, telling us we’re not as good as we think we are, telling us that book we’re trying to write is a waste of time, that piece of art isn’t really art, and that meal you thought came out so well was boring and overcooked. I’m all for changing the tape on that background noise. How about you?
Here’s the new chorus I want to hear in my head. I’m forcing myself (I’m saying “force” because it’s not a habit yet.)
- I’m good at writing. Not just writing in general but I’m good at writing the kind of stories that get under your skin and tug at your heart and sometimes make you cry.
- I’m good at taking every day moments, like something that happens in the garden or an observation of my dog or a teaching moment in the classroom, and writing about them so that most people can relate to the situation and the story.
- I’m good creating a home that is welcoming to all who come to visit.
- I’m good at reading fast.
- I’m good at supporting my friends and kids and encouraging their dreams.
- I’m good at listening.
- I’m good at making other people feel at ease.
This isn’t an easy thing (for most people) to do. I know I’m good at other things but when it came to actually putting them on the list I found myself hesitating. Maybe next week it will be easier to add to it. I also stopped myself from being snarky and saying how good I was at doing things that were bad for me because I don’t think that goes with the spirit of the exercise. You don’t have to qualify your talents. You do have to accept them.
It takes practice for most of us to be able to talk about what we do well so here’s your chance. Tell me what you do well. Don’t counter it with I do this but I stink at that. Trust me, I had a corresponding negative thought for everything I posted. Start each sentence with “I’m good at . . . ”
Ready, set, go!
Today, in some parts of the blogsphere, it is known as Thankful Thursday. Thankful Thursday was started by writer L.K. Madigan, an amazing woman whom I met on Livejournal. Today is also the one year anniversary of Lisa’s death. Jama Rattigan has a wonderful tribute to Lisa on her blog.
What a wonderful post idea, Susan. And, yes, you are! 🙂
I’m good at taking some form of writing, studying it, and modeling my own work to fit a set of specs.
I’m good at saying yes to a new project, even when I’m scared.
I’m good at recognizing when it is time to shut down, go away, and open up someone else’s book.
Thanks, Becky. Ooh, you reminded me that yes, I’m good at being brave.
That last one of yours is really important. Sometimes I push myself too far and end up miserable or messing things up. It’s good to know when to stop and go do something else.
I am good at writing about PTSD so that it doesn’t seem weird or weak and it helps people who have it.
I am good at organizing information and seeing connections between things.
I am good at cooking.
I am good at finding good clothing and neat things at Goodwill.
I am good at training my dogs.
I’ve been married 48 years so perhaps I’m good at that.
Love your list, Patience! Wow, that first one is so important. And the last one, yes, 48 years of marriage is something to celebrate! Good for you.
I’m good at many of the things on your list (but not reading fast or making people cry with my writing).
I’m good at using my instincts to discern where people are coming from and what they need emotionally.
I’m good at supporting and encouraging fellow writers.
I’m good at recognizing good writing when I see it.
I’m good at expressing full-out enthusiasm for the things and people I love.
I’m good at collecting dishes, setting the table, and enjoying other people’s cooking :)!
Thanks for this affirming post, Susan!
I can totally vouch for the truth of your third one, Jama!
How right you are, Becky!
Love your list, Jama! (I’ll let you slide on the one “but”)
The use of instincts to help others is a really good one to have. And enthusiasm. Yes!
Ooh, I’m good at collecting things! Thanks for stopping by.
I am a good cook. Maybe not an exotic cook, but if we found ourselves someplace stranded with a quart of milk, a can of peas and some bread, I could make something delicious out of that. I’m good cook, and I bring people gifts of my cooking – or baking, actually – because that the best way I know of to give of myself.
What a wonderful gift! I’m so glad you acknowledged it!
I’m good at finding great blogs! Thank you for the post – it is already turning my thoughts to the positive.
Yay! Glad you’re feeling more positive after reading this.
I’m good at appreciating my existence, the well being of everyone around me and nature.
I’m good at being overly optimistic and grateful that no matter what, it could be better and it could be worse.
I’m good at seeing beauty in everything that exists
I’m good at being grateful for my sons, my parents, my close relatives, mankind, and me.
I’m grateful for the fact that there are so many positively uplifting souls in the world today that contribute to the continuous development of the world we exist in and shape
I love this list! It’s so important to be good at appreciating the world around us. Thanks for adding to the joy.
I’m good at math.
I’m good at writing dialogue.
I’m good at scheduling things and being on time.
You’re also good at inspiring people, Susan!
Thanks, Jenn. You’re right, I am good at inspiring people. I’ll add that to my list.
Ooh, I envy you being good at scheduling. I aspire to that.
Hi Susan — I love your post! It really is so easy to be hard on ourselves and so much more difficult to say what we’re good at. Thank you for the inspiration. Here’s my little list:
I’m good at helping other people when they have a hard time
I’m good at finding something wonderful in almost every book I read
I’m good at finding something to be grateful for no matter the situation
I’m good at laughing out loud
I’m good at giving love
I’m good at waking up in the morning and being instantly up.
Oh how much do I love that you can find something wonderful in most every book you’ve read? That’s a lovely gift.
Laughing out loud is good too.
I’m so jealous that you’re one of those instantly awake people. My husband is too. I, alas, am not.
Hallelujah! I’ve been waiting for you to say these words out loud for a while. AND, your list is much longer than what you’ve posted. :o)
I’m good at finding wonderful friends like you.
I’m good at cooking.
I’m good at kick-boxing.
I’m good at making other people laugh.
I’m good at seeing myself objectively (even if I’m not emotionally ready to accept it).
I know my list is longer but I’ve gotta leave something for future posts. Hahaha. Actually I wanted to claim the ones that came to me easily and I’ll scale the rest of the mountain later.
You are good at making other people laugh.
Ooh, and you reminded me that I make killer tacos.
Great post and reminder for us all to own our “goods,” Susan!
I am good at
-writing and editing
-doing what I say I’m going to do
Love your list, Lisa! And you’ve reminded me that I’m a good watcher and observer.
Great thoughts, Susan.
I am good at devouring a lot of information and combining it in different ways. I’m good at simplifying complex, uh, unsimple things :-). I am good at listening. I am good at holding focus and…oooh!!!! Something shiny!!!! And I’m good at being silly (in and out of print).
Oh these are great and you reminded me of some more for my list.
I’m a good teacher.
And while my own focus might not be so great I’m good at training my dog to focus.
I’m good at appreciating the unique and weird.
I’m good at interior decorating.
I’m good at being a loyal friend.
I’m good at blogging.
I’m good at writing poetry.
I’m good at writing humorously.
I’m good at writing novels that are charming, unique, and funny.
I’m good at researching.
I’m a good editor and proofreader.
I’m good at critiquing.
I’m good at finding true love through a blind date and at being happily married.
You’ve got a great list, Barb. You’re really good at being supportive to people in your circle.
Love that last item on your list.
WOW! What a great post and great comments here. And yes, you are great at all those things and so much more! Add you are good at being a supportive and caring friend to that list.
Ah yes, this IS hard. Let me try:
I am good at writing stories.
I am good at putting other people’s desires first (in a good way).
I am good at traveling – at exploring new things and places.
I am good at shouting praises of friends and family.
I am a good friend.
I am good at eating. 😉
I am good at shopping. 😉
Isn’t it amazing how hard this is even when we are working at it all the time?
You are VERY good at shouting praise for others and being a wonderful friend!
Good at eating!! I forgot that one. I’m very good at that. 🙂
Hahaha! I’m REALLY good at eating too. Too good, actually.
Here you are! Welcome to WP! In answer to your question, I don’t receive notification if I comment on someone else’s WP blog.
Just subscribed to your new blog home. Yay! Send some of your readers to me! (Kidding) Love your Where I Create slideshow. When I get better at WP, Photoshop, photography, I’ll do something like that. Won’t be any time soon!
Candice, I’ve learned a TON about WP in the past few weeks. I’ll pop over to your blog and fill you in on some things that helped me out.
Lovely new blog, Susan! Thanks for the reminder/invitation to come by and see it, and I think this is a wonderful post. (And I agree with Jenn–you’re great at inspiring people.)
I have a lot of trouble turning off my inner critic and listing the good things–I sympathize with you on that. But it’s something I’ve been trying to work on recently, so this fits in perfectly. Here goes:
I’m good at listening. I’m good at analyzing problems and situations. I’m good at working hard on a project, once I’ve gotten started. I’m good at coming up with interesting, creative ideas. I’m good at making lists. I’m good at helping others who need a favor. I’m good in general with the artsy, crafty side of life.
Thanks for this much-needed challenge! (It’s hard to just list the good without being tempted to qualify them…)
Thank you, Sarah, for the kind words. I appreciate you stopping by.
Ooh, being a good analyzing is such a hand skill! Surprising, isn’t it, how hard it is to answer without qualifying!
I am hosting Poetry Friday.
I am good at photography.
I am a good listener.
I am cmpassionate.
Thanks for adding to the list, Jone. I love yours. And hey, now that I’m not on Livejournal, you can post here! I’m still working on getting back into Poetry Friday. Feeling overwhelmed by the online world.
Susan, I love your new space and have always loved how your message resonates with me. My irritation with social media is not negativity but the inflation of the positive. That’s what I see mostly – posturing, grandiosity… it makes me feel like LESS and makes me wonder why we need these platforms to make us feel worthy (?). Your post here doesn’t fall into that category. Thank you.
Thank you so much, Irene. Your words mean a lot to me because that’s exactly the way I often feel about social media – it makes me feel less than and I can do that enough myself!
What I like about social media is the chance to get to know people better so that’s what I shoot for when I blog.