This morning, while reading a post on the blog “Soul Gathering”, I read a quote by Pablo Picasso that said “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away”. It struck a cord with me as I had never thought of myself as a purveyor of a gift, or for that matter, what that gift might be.
I have always considered myself competent, but not really gifted. So, if I were to share my gift with the world, what would it be. What intangible within me could I give away to the world that could be considered unique. Or at least be considered one of those voices that stimulated others to say “I wish I could do that” or “I wish I was like that”. My initial thoughts, I’m afraid, garnered no results. I can’t paint. I can’t sing. I can’t play an instrument, and I suck at sports. So, having narrowed the field of potential gifts, I decided I had to try a little harder or dig a little deeper. I apparently was only sorting through the high profile skills that are visible to those around us.
So, I first asked myself a question. “Do I like who I am”? I decided I must or I wouldn’t continue to be me. So the next question had to be ‘why’? Why do I do the things I do, think the things I think and act the way I act? That’s when I started to realize that it had nothing to do with my environment and everything to do with how I related to it. My lifetime of lessons learned and stored had shaped me into who I am today. Very early in life I had learned that I wanted to be ‘a good boy’, because if I was, there were rewards. But being a good boy came with rules. Lots of them. Learn and apply the rules, and things went a lot better.
Based on the results of my childhood, I guess it followed that, as an adult, I wanted to be a good person. I wanted to be liked. To get along. To have friends. To be seen as someone that had something to offer.
The first time someone laughed at something I said, I instinctively knew that humor would open doors. Not cruel humor, but innocent and perhaps sometimes deprecating humor had it’s benefits. People gravitate toward pleasant people. I know I do. There is so much wisdom in the old axiom of “it is not what you say, but how you say it”. I also realized somewhere along the way the value of compassion. If you can reach out to someone in pain and offer comfort, you will form invisible bonds. And, if you are willing to forgive when others transgress, you will gain a sense of peace.
So, what is my gift? Well, there is nothing here that I would consider special. That is, until I look around and see how many there are that don’t seem to possess one of more of these qualities. Those that choose hate, or dishonesty. Those that look the other way when a helping hand is needed. And those that treat others with distain.
My gift therefore must be, well, me. It must be that which I give away every day just by trying to be the best I can. If I can like me, then perhaps that is the key to others liking me too. It’s definitely worth a try.
Gee, I didn’t think it could be that easy.