It’s fair to say we don’t always appreciate the skills and talents we possess. As a Mother, once you start to see your child learn and develop you start to appreciate that some of the very basic skills adults have are really difficult to acquire.
My child looks at the parts of a toy in surprise egg, for example, and to her it’s a jumble of parts. A mystery! Mummy looks at it, and sees what it is, how it is constructed, and whether it will end up lost under the sofa later, or if she’s going to struggle to put the stickers on it, which is really something if you think about it.
Mummy can: visualise the finished article from a heap of plastic bits, engineer it in her head, and make predictions about the future! All 3 seconds after popping open the top and looking in.
This is the kind of every day stuff we think nothing of, but once you break it down, it’s really something. We spend so much time beating ourselves up for all the things we can’t do, or the things we think we should do better, that once in a while (cultivating our “attitude of gratitude”) it is nice to take a moment to savour the things we can. Many of which are quite extraordinary.
Even something simple like making a cup of tea involves:
- self-awareness (I’m thirsty),
- hand-eye co-ordination (boiling water on your toes if it doesn’t),
- organisation (you know where all the things you need to make tea are),
- memory (you can remember where the tea things are),
- basic physics (you know you need to boil the water to change it’s state),
- creativity (you choose which mug you want),
- judgement (how much milk do you need to add to get the outcome you want; how much liquid to add without making the cup over-flow),
- imagination (I am thinking about the biscuit I would like with that).
It’s astonishing once you break it down!
Try an exercise: pick something you do today, anything, preferably something mundane or routine. Walk through the steps and look at how many different skills are involved and how difficult and extraordinary some of those steps are. Take a moment to really appreciate the power and depth of being a human being. Savour it. See how special it is. This is how we build mindfulness.
To help you at work next time you feel frustrated, worthless, undervalued, or out-of-your depth try this. See and feel what you can really do. Feel amazed at yourself and your own capabilities. Some of the things you can do are truly astonishing! What is the secret expertise even you don’t really know you have?
I’d love to hear your experiences of trying this, what hidden depths did you discover?
Please post any thoughts or comments below.