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Tooting your own horn

Photo of my Bach Trumpet

“Your own gifts are powerful when they are embraced with gratitude.”

Last week’s article discussed how many of us tend to dismiss or ignore our own hidden talents (click here to read it). For many, promoting oneself is difficult, awkward, and very uncomfortable. It feels more like bragging rather than a creative depiction or a personal conviction of your own abilities. Yet when done well, it may mean the difference between getting work or not.

I know a little something about tooting a horn, literally, because I earned a degree in music performance with the trumpet as my instrument. I began playing it around the age of ten and if I had to guess why I chose that particular instrument, it probably would be because it was loud and brazen. Being the youngest of three boys, I often needed to speak up and stretch the truth a bit to convince them to include me in some of their games.

A few years later, my own shame altered this once boastful demeanor into an unsure and under-confident boy. I convinced myself it was no longer appropriate to sing my own praises and more often, understate and dismiss my talents.

Even discussing self-confidence felt conceited and whenever a compliment was given to me, not only was it shrugged off, I typically responded with a comment which negated whatever kind words were spoken to me. In a very short time, reacting this way became a habit and ultimately created a kind of “default mode“. Eventually it affected my personality to where it was difficult and even embarrassing to accept a compliment.

This way of thinking stayed with me for decades. It wasn’t until I began seeing my therapist that I was able to clearly understand how this kind of shame negatively impacted me and prevented me from having a valuable and healthy form of self-confidence.

At times, it is still difficult to accept compliments but I’ve learned to acknowledge them and respond with kindness and gratitude. My old way of dismissing those comments truthfully was rude and not very considerate. However, I believed I was being the bigger person and responding with the appropriate kind of humility.

For nearly three years, I’ve been posting these articles every Sunday without fail. It’s not easy to come up with words and thoughts meant to inspire readers in self-growth and also are crafted in such a way that beckons them back each week. I’ve come to realize it is a “hidden talent” and one for which I am truly grateful. I can also tell you the gratitude felt towards each reader today is just as strong as it was 180 articles ago.

It certainly wasn’t easy for me to write this article but I felt it was important. So many people are confused and baffled by a misunderstanding that acknowledging and embracing our talents is akin to selfishness and arrogance. They are called gifts so that we might share them with others; to inspire the gifts still hidden within them. It becomes arrogance once they are used to hurt or take advantage of others.

The one gift I am most grateful for is helping others heal from past abuses and difficulties. If there is something from your past or present which you’ve been wanting to reconcile or repair, please feel free to contact me. I will do my best to help. Thank you for reading and I look forward to your comments.

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