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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Hoock

Talents That Are Not Easily Recognizable

I believe most people, if not all, deep down would like to use the talents they were born with and use those talents to benefit humanity. I was gifted with wonderful talents, just like everyone else. Although, as I have noticed as with many others, my talents are not those that are normally encouraged by others. It’s not as though I was the top track player, an incredible gymnast or a star in the school plays. In school, some areas came easy to me, others were more challenging, but I wasn’t the valedictorian of my class. Overall I have been successful academically, but I speculate it may have been driven by my innate appreciation of learning, not necessarily my brain power. Sadly, I never attempted to join the drama club, did not play a musical instrument and stopped torturing others with my singing voice after the 6th grade. Art was for the classroom and it never found its way into my daily life. It has taken a long time for me to figure out what my talents were because they were not obvious or even overt enough to be called out and appreciated.

The typical talents that we offer praise and encourage in others normally have an attachment to the material world. For instance, someone has an orientation toward math and happens to be savvy with computers. This person does well in school and is praised for their intelligence in the computer industry. They excel at creating code, leading them to develop software programs. This person feels good for using their talent and having their talent appreciated. As you can see, these benefits tend to be material in nature. Specifically, the person who created the product will be rewarded with a paycheck and the organization that employs them will benefit monetarily from the end product. Additionally, the end customer would find using this particular software program provides an ease of use in their life. Similarly, but in a different industry, someone who is strong in the arts creates beautiful sculptures that others are able to view at a gallery or show off to others when they have guests over. The artist receives adulation for their brilliance, they receive money for their work and possibly others benefit monetarily as well (i.e., art collectors, art galleries, shops). The question is, what happens to those who have a talent that is not as easily understandable or appreciated because it doesn’t benefit the material world directly?

Over the years I have realized my true talents are more emotional in nature and less apparent. My talents were not discovered and encouraged by others necessarily, they became more obvious to me as I tried to navigate my world. I struggled to find my place and what would bring me joy as well as be beneficial to others. One of my greatest talents could be labeled as emotional sensitivity, or in clinical terms you can consider me to be a highly sensitive person or possibly an empath in spiritual terms. As I have come to realize, this talent benefits many, but wasn’t something that was embraced by all and generally was not appreciated like those talents that flourish in the material world.

My emotional sensitivity gives me the ability to feel what others are dealing with on a deeper and more substantial level. This knowledge helps me to unravel the things that may be blocking others from experiencing a purposeful life. I’m able to embrace the pain that others are feeling and help them work through it, instead of shutting them down when they are feeling pain, whether this is emotional, mental or physical. Being able to embrace others’ pain does not come easy to everyone and is needed when working with others who are making changes in their lives. As I was growing up, I was not encouraged to develop my emotional sensitivity. If anything the message I received was to stop having the emotions I experienced, to shut them down, mainly so others didn’t have to experience negative or difficult feelings. Imagine if I was brought up in an environment that encouraged those emotional talents. It would have given me the confidence as a young person to embrace, explore, develop and share those talents much earlier than I am now in my life. I am happy to find my own appreciation for this talent, but I know many will allow their under acknowledged immaterial talents to remain hidden or unexplored because they are not valued by society at large.

The other day, some people were visiting me and one of my guests was a young girl around the age of 8. I noticed she was climbing on all the furniture in the house. Instead of a typical reaction telling her to get off of the furniture, I paused and said “you like to climb”. Once I said that, her face lit up and she began to divulge to me all of the things she likes to climb on. At this point, I am not sure what that means for her future or her as a person, but if she is able to be appreciated for her passion to climb things, then there may be an opening for opportunities to share her natural talent with others. On the other hand, if she is yelled at for climbing on the furniture or at least continuously asked to not climb on things, over time she would begin to believe that climbing was not an appropriate behavior and like most stop engaging in that activity, one that she loves. In this example, maybe you don’t want the child to be climbing on everything, but it would be important to encourage it and offer places she would be able to climb and explore this talent. I think it is important to observe and pay attention to others to determine what is natural to them, for what they are good at and what inspires them, even if it doesn’t fit our predetermined ideas for what talent is in this world. You never know we may be encouraging a world changer.

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