Rejoicing in your gifts when surrounded by the gifts of others

Hi, there. So the Olympics are in full swing and have been on almost constantly in my house. My family and I have always been Olympic fanatics, both for the summer and winter games. I would even “play” Olympics when I was little. This game only occurred once and consisted of me doing a front flip off our side table into the seat of the recliner next to it. I was two and I nearly gave my mother a heart attack. Needless to say, that game was never repeated.

While I’ve been guzzling all the footage of the 2016 games that I can between writing and working, I have been struck by how different I feel about these games than I did about the ones in 2012. To give some context, I had just graduated from high school when the London 2012 games happened. I was about to head to a university a few hours away from home and the summer had not been kind to me. A family illness and multiple issues with friends had whittled my heart down. I was really looking forward to the Olympics because I had such wonderful memories of my family gathering to enjoy the way the games bring people together. Yet all during those games, the one thought that constantly nagged at me was “I can’t do anything like that!”

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This picture didn’t exist for the 2012 Olympics, yet if it did, it perfectly describes how watching them made me feel. Credit to Social Work Tutor’s facebook page.

Yes, I found it so upsetting that athletes my age or even younger than me were being so awesome and drawing so much attention. It was so silly since I probably couldn’t do any of the things that any of them did no matter how hard I tried, yet my confidence took a sucker punch every time I watched an event. Maybe it didn’t quite happen that way, but that’s how I remember it. I was so down on myself, uselessly, because I will never come close to anything like that and other people my age or younger could. Again, so silly. But at the time it wasn’t.

Fast forward four years. University is done and I have my degree and am in the uncertain zone of figuring my life out. And while people my age or younger are still being super awesome in all their athletic events, I feel nothing but happy for them. When the women’s gymnastics competition began, I cheered so much for those wonderful ladies. I’ve been constantly astonished at all the events, the dedication these people put into their sports. And I haven’t once felt bad about being athletically challenged.

It’s important to rejoice in your talents and to share those talents with others. For a long time, I thought that was an act of pride and belittled myself as much as I could. Yet that’s not true. Rejoicing in your talents and using them to the best of your ability is one of the reasons you have those talents in the first place. Being envious of other’s gifts while being down about your own is not only hurtful, it’s ungrateful. It’s like taking back a garment that fits you perfectly to try to exchange it for one that’s “better” and flashier. Pardon the ineffective metaphor, but you get what I mean.

What this all boils down is that humanity is constantly altering its roles of do-er and appreciator. What your friend can’t do, you can, and what one stranger can do extremely well, one other stranger can do only mildly well. While it’s a huge temptation to get upset about these differences, it’s better if we try to appreciate and encourage one another. Because we need each other, no matter how hard of a fact that is to accept sometimes. No one person was created to do it all but we all were made to do it all together. Thanks for reading this ramble. Have a beautiful night, everyone.

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