Identifying our Gifts

Let the beauty we love be what we do.  –Rumi

Being gifted is not the same as having particular talents.  Our talents may be a part of our giftedness, but our gifts encompass so much more.  Each of us has gifts that are inherent to our way of being.  We are gifted not so much by what we can do but by who we are.

Identifying our gifts is a spiritual journey, a reflective process of self-knowledge that requires commitment and hard work.  Naming our gifts is difficult for us sometimes.  We may have been told that we should not brag, that we should be humble.  Yet humility means being honest enough to identify and accept both our strengths and our weaknesses.

Gifts shared:  children, music, friendship.
Gifts shared: children, music, fun, friendship.

We can begin to identify our gifts through self-awareness.  Ask yourself, What’s important to me?  What sparks a sense of curiosity in me?  What is life-giving for me?  When do I feel most fulfilled and enriched?  What brings me joy and energy?  Other people—our families, friends, co-workers, neighbors—can also help us to know ourselves.  We might ask, When do people compliment me or come to me for help? What is it they often ask of me?

Our answers to these questions may involve naming simple, everyday things:  listening to fine music, empathizing with another, playing games with our children, inviting the neighbors over for coffee.  Each of these activities, when they spark a sense of life within us, helps us to know something about ourselves—and our gifts that are inherent to whom we are.

None of us is all things to all people.  Rather, we are a community of people who bring diverse gifts to the world, wherever the world most needs us.  This might mean staying home more often to be with our families, listening to co-workers speak of their concerns, looking out for a neighbor, chairing a committee, tutoring a child, reading to children, working at a homeless shelter.

What gift does the world need from you?

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