The other day I had the fatal realization that I don’t bring much to the table in my friend groups or family. It was like a clash of worlds, stars falling from the skies and *gasp* dinosaurs roaring!
No, so, hrm, okay, maybe I wasn’t THAT surprised!
The realization did put me in a bit of distress and since it I’ve been trying to figure out how to better myself.
This self-doubt about what I bring to the world has been a continuous problem for me through the past seven years. I want to be a writer but there was this voice in me that kept saying: “what can a writer bring to society? Will you feed the poor with words? Uhm, ink, nice. Now go replant the trees you cut down printing this.”
Just, for the record, to all you guys who do art I want to say: “It’s a cultural thing! Your art is wonderful and will inspire people. It will help us communicate. When people look back at today they will see us through the lens of our fiction, non-fiction and art! So draw, damn it, write with blood if you have to!”
I told a friend how I felt; that I worried I didn’t contribute to the group. She gave me the best “what the hell kind of an idiotic talk am I listening to” look.
“I don’t think you don’t contribute,” she said, almost revolted. “You’re very open. I don’t know anyone else I can say anything to or who will take any criticism. That’s the great thing; if something’s wrong I can just say that to you.”
“Being good at taking criticism isn’t exactly a virtue that makes others’ lives better,” I argued.
“But I do come to you and talk to you. I love ranting to you because you’ll take it and listen.”
She gave me a bunch of stuff to think about.
I realized that my great negative trait – being loud in voicing my opinions and never concealing them – is also my greatest attribute.
People know I say the truth, that I have no limits as to what I might say, so they come to me for advice. They come to me when they want to hear the truth.
And sometimes people get really tired of the truth and shy away. That’s okay, because it’s a service I offer and I’ll continue to be brutally honest if it helps anyone.
Another thing I realized is that I have a superpower I do not use and that I might cultivate.
I’m quite good at reading people. I’ll know which buttons to push and how to make people feel comfortable or uncomfortable pretty quickly. I’m good at talking people into what I want by “dropping the bombs” with the right timing.
If I wanted to never have a fight with my parents I could probably achieve 95% success-rate.
Instead, I let my irritation and self-righteousness get in the way and will snap fairly often.
If I can become able to minimize these negative thoughts I will not only be happier because I’d harbor more positive thoughts but also because I’d be able to please the people around me in a whole different way.
I know it doesn’t sound like much, but if I hone this skill it could become a razor sharp weapon. How many times have you been in a situation where someone was hurt and you kept wondering “what can I do to make things better”?
Well, I don’t want to be in that situation. I want to be able to do something.