We all have at least one thing that we can do well, one special skill. Some people have many skills but we all have something that we can contribute to the world. These skills make us who we are and keep us strong when the storm clouds of life loom above us.
There are times when we need to cling tightly to our special talents or we may lose sight of them because we feel a little shaky and our self-esteem has taken a battering.
Skills are unique and varied. Some people are good at telling jokes, others are maths geniuses or talented musicians. However, some can be less obvious and don’t always come out at parties…but they are still there, and they shape who we are.
Maybe your skills are those kind of less flamboyant ones that are not often written or spoken about? Skills of kindness, compassion, learning or even an appreciation of beauty.
I confess at times to skill envy – wishing I could play music, paint evocative works of art or win medals at swimming. However, these feelings of envy also uncover what I appreciate in others and what is important to me, and not having these skills allows me to wonder at the talent and beauty in the skills of others.
As I reflect on our diversity, I am grateful that we are different. We can complement, shoulder up and lean on one another. In families, teams, school and at work diversity adds rich rewards both to us individually and as a group.
Diversity increases cohesion and gives depth to relationships. Like coffee and Tim Tams – alone we are great but together we are magic!
Life sometimes gets messy and complicated. Our skills may need to be re-fuelled and mobilised to get us through these tough times. In counselling this can mean drawing on the things that keep us strong. There are times when we all need someone to point out what we do well that may have been getting covered by our busyness, fear or stress.
At SKATTLE, we believe that we are all inherently capable. We have skills to navigate life built into us. We also have the capacity to grow and to keep learning new skills and developing ways of applying these skills to new challenges.
Given that we can all lose sight of our special talents, getting a different perspective from someone can be really helpful. There are times too where we may find we need some extra ‘storm readiness’ to reinvigorate and prepare for potential storms, stand strong and ultimately to thrive.
Surprisingly, it can be exciting to discover or to re-discover our skills and values. We can use counselling to focus on our ‘unique skills’ and tapping into what is working and doing more of that. Exploring “possibilities rather than problems, options rather than constraints, wellness rather than sickness” (Rapp, 1998) is an important element of any meaningful counselling experience.
Consider if you had the option of walking through 2 doors…
“Enter here and we will explore with you the unhelpful aspects currently in your life. Then we will help you identify the unhelpful habits you have developed that have the most negative impact on your life. Once those are identified, we will work with you to change or break these unhealthy habits”
“Enter here and we will explore with you your strengths, values, resources, what is important to you and what is possible in creating and self-managing a personally meaningful life. Then we will help you identify the skills you would like to add in your life. And we will work with you using your unique skills, strengths and resources, to build on and develop these new skills.”
If you had a choice which door would you enter through…? (hint: SKATTLE will always aim to help you towards Door B )
Article written by Helena Roennfeldt, Adjunct Research Fellow and volunteer group facilitator at SKATTLE