I was talking to my yoga class on Sunday about how, when we turn over a new calendar, people start getting all self-critical and resolution-y (a fact they appreciated as they were jammed in the room with far more people than usual because of all the folks adhering to their New Year’s, go-t0-the-gym resolutions). While I think that self-improvement is a grand thing – I mean, really; where would we be if we stopped trying to get better? – I think that we, as a culture, take the idea to its extreme. We’re much more likely to tell you what we don’t like about ourselves – our flaws, our shortcomings – than we are to highlight what we have or what we do well and easily.
This week, then, you get ten things that Chili can do with relative ease, competence, or aplomb:
1. I can cook. Seriously; I have some killer recipes that I always – and I mean always – hit out of the park. I am proud of my ability to feed people with satisfying, and sometimes sublime, dishes.
2. I am a decent writer. I haven’t quite worked this into what I want it to be in the grand scheme of my life, but I do have a facility with language and the ability to tell a good and engaging story.
3. I’m an excellent teacher. I have always, for as long as I’ve been aware of my own self, been put in positions to teach others. Regardless of what I did – from figure skating to my work in a bank to fitness to English – I’ve managed to land in situations where I was called on to teach others. I love it, I’m good at it, and I’m grateful that I’ve finally found a place where I can do it for a living instead of just a hobby.
4. I’m generous. It helps that my life allows me to be generous with money and things, but I am also very free with my time and my energy. If there’s something I can do to help you – if I can share a lesson plan or give you a ride to the doctor’s office or buy you lunch – I will.
5. I’m a good listener. I’ve gotten better at this as I’ve gotten older; I find that good listening often means having more patience than one would expect. I’m getting very good at really hearing people, too, and I think that a lot of that can be credited to parenting my daughter; I need to do more than just listen to her words, I have to really hear what she’s saying and really think about what that means.
6. I’m neat and (mostly) organized. I’m certainly not a type-A personality, but I do like a reasonable amount of order. I know where things are (that is, if someone in my family hasn’t moved it on me). My car is not a rolling dumpster and things do not rot in my refrigerator. My children have regular dental and doctor visits and our cars’ oil gets changed when it’s supposed to. Our clothes are clean and reasonably wrinkle-free. I pay my bills on time.
7. I can solve problems. Like the listening thing, I find I get better at creative problem-solving as I get older and have the capacity for greater critical and inventive thinking. Sometimes, I can come up with simple, easy solutions and sometimes my answer to a problem is complex and convoluted and resembles a Rube Goldburg device, but either way, I get shit done.
8. I’m willing to admit when I’m wrong, unable to do something, or confused. I will ask for help or clarification when I need it, and I’ve gotten much better at acknowledging when I’ve made a mistake or behaved in a way that wasn’t warranted or appropriate.
9. I’m flexible, and not just in the “well, DUH; you’re a yoga teacher!” way, either. I’m not upset anymore when plans have to change or when something doesn’t work out exactly as planned. I’m a lot less tied to outcomes than I was in my youth, and I’m finding that opens a lot of doors for me.
10. I am kind. I go into situations assuming the best about everyone involved. I am polite and gracious in public (and in private, too, come to think about it). I try very hard to be always aware of the kind of energy I radiate.
So, what do YOU do easily and well? What gifts do you bring to this party? What do people go to you seeking?