Hidden Talents Might Be Too Well Hidden

I was sitting in a circle of women and we each had a question to answer.  My question, typed on a strip of paper was, “Name one thing you do well.”  We were at a get-to-know-you Relief Society Meeting and the object was to answer the question (not mentioned but kind of implied to answer truthfully).  I happened to be the second to last person in the circle so I had plenty of time to think.  I needed more time.  I couldn’t think of one single thing.  This is a relatively new problem for me.  I used to be able to divulge my many virtues at the drop of a hat.  But alas, my cockiness has been knocked down a few degrees.

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The potential inside

“She needs to toughen up,” my co-worker surmised after sharing a story about her daughter.  Apparently, her fourteen year old daughter’s feelings were hurt by a remark her friend said.  Her mother told us the remark was not that big of a deal and that her daughter is “too sensitive.”

Too sensitive.  I’m aware of that phrase.  I have poured out my soul in prayer to my Heavenly Father pleading to toughen up.

But as my co-worker described her daughter I had a new take on it.   Perhaps, and stay with my ramblings here, perhaps sensitivity should not be viewed as a character flaw.  What if sensitivity is a character strength given to a few souls to make the world a better place?  What if it’s our responsibility to bring some tenderness into this hardened place we call home?

Instead of stamping out this God given attribute, what if we are to learn how to share it?  True, we need to learn how to cope with this gift.  I can understand why the common belief is we need to toughen up.  That prevalent belief is for a sensitive’s soul own good.  Less heartache that way.  But isn’t that forcing someone born with the gift of sensitivity into someone he or she is not?  There has got to be a way to be a happy thoughtful soul who shares the gift of tenderness.

Shortly after this conversation, I went to see Disney’s Frozen.  (By the way, I recommend this movie.  The best Disney animated film I’ve seen since Tarzan)  The movie seemed to continue my train of thought.  I don’t want to be a plot spoiler so let me just sum up by saying it’s about a girl who can’t use her innate talents and is forced to hide.  She becomes somebody she was not meant to be and does not live up to her potential.

Is that what happens to most of us?  We are afraid to use our abilities or maybe we don’t understand them so we live half-lives never reaching our full potential.  We stamp out our gifts until we conform to the world’s standards.   Perhaps we feel if we don’t possess the right talents we are not good enough.  In reality, we just need to learn how to use our own gifts.

Anyone willing to weigh in on this?

Want to hear a song from Frozen sung by the character I mentioned?

The Log Ride and Only Child Syndrome

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By Marilyn Lee

My mother never liked heights…or any amusement park type rides for that matter. Because of this, I grew up thinking that I didn’t either. On ninth grade Lagoon day, I was dragged onto my first roller coaster and loved it. I believe this is where my adventurous spirit was born. Since I realized that thrill rides were a fantastic way to spend time, my mother, being the good sport she is, decided to take me to Lagoon the same summer I discovered my inner thrill seeker.

We got to Lagoon and went on a few not-tall, non-loopy rides for her enjoyment. However, my soul thirsted for more adventure. On our way to Rattlesnake Rapids, a pretty calm water ride, I saw an awesome ride opportunity. A ride called the Log Flume begged for my attention. I asked my mom if she wanted to go. She declined because it went too high up. No matter, I would just go by myself. I traipsed right over and got in line. I was unaware that it was two to a seat. I awkwardly stood there while the ride attendant asked the other line-waiters if anyone wanted to accompany me. A nice twenty-something man was kind enough to help a sista out. I awkwardly sat in front of him on the seat and enjoyed the exciting Log Flume Ride.

There’s lots of statistics and stereotypes about only children. Especially being an only child with a single parent. They aren’t always uplifting and often mention “only child syndrome”. This syndrome commonly refers to only children being bratty, selfish, and spoiled among many other glamorous personality traits. However, after years of being an only child, I have developed my own theory and definition of my personal only child syndrome. The story above is an example of my only child syndrome. I pinpoint this experience as my growing-up realization that as an only child, independence comes naturally and if I want something done, I don’t need to rely on anyone but myself to get it done. If I desire an outcome, an experience, or an emotion I am not going to wait for anyone else to join me if they don’t want to. I will do it alone and I will love it. Life is meant to be lived and sometimes, no one wants to experience what you want to. Will this stop me? No way.

Another only child syndrome symptom I believe I have is relationship bonding and because I never had a legit sibling bond, I grow really attached to my friends and create everlasting bonds with them. Not in a creepy way, but in a family kind of way. I also like to have lot of friends to compensate for my lack of sibling-ness. I love to be around others. I love to meet people. Growing up with a wonderful yet introverted mother, I had to often step out of my shell to create smooth conversations with store clerks or waiters. Because of this, I have become outgoing and find it pretty easy to strike up conversations with strangers. Don’t get me wrong, alone time is also something I yearn for seeing as that is what I grew up with, but there’s only so much alone time I can handle before I crave conversation with others.

This post was not meant to be a bragging outlet for me. This was to alert those who may stereotype us only children that sometimes, statistics are wrong. I love being an only child with a single mother. I would not have my life any other way. I am who I am because of it. I truly believe that the traits I exhibit are because of the only child circumstances in my life. And frankly, I’m proud to have only child syndrome.