loving the gifts that others see in you

There’s a lot of love floating around this week and I’m enjoying all of it.

Some of my clients have even been creating celebratory self-love valentines during our sessions. And as we cut out the hearts and add colors and words, I’m reminded of just how challenging it can be to open up and receive the gifts that others see in us.

It can feel so raw to see ourselves through the eyes of those who love and appreciate us.

After all, who are we to believe all that? Who are we to stamp those appreciations with me and mine? Who are we to declare, Yes, I am worthy of the gifts you see in me.

It’s hard. But oh so necessary.

Because more often than not it’s a corner-turning moment. It’s the final piece of the jigsaw puzzle you’ve been working on for months. Or that key ingredient in a once in a lifetime meal.

In my own life there have been many instances when others saw my gifts long before I did.

When I finally stepped into them, though, I finally came home to myself.

So even though it’s difficult, I’ll go first and share three gifts that others knew about before I did.

I’m funny.

Growing up in a funny, fun-loving, jester-ish family, I often felt left out, like I couldn’t keep up with the wit (and sometimes raucous sarcasm) flying through the air. Then I married a funny guy. I like to think that he brought out the funny in me, but he’ll tell you I’ve always been funny. Now I’ve come to accept my particular version of funny: quirky, paradoxical, goofy.


My voice is warm and soothing.

I hated the sound of my voice when I was younger. It seemed high and whiny. Then something happened. People started commenting on it: It makes me feel good. I calm down when you talk. I love listening to you. I don’t know, maybe I grew into my voice, kind of like I grew into my nose.


I listen for the deepest story.

This one’s a little more complicated since I’m trained to listen and do it professionally. In fact, anyone can learn the skills to become a good listener. But something shifted, something deepened a few years into my counseling and coaching career. Clients told me: You get me like no one else ever has or You hear things that I know are there but can’t put into words.

I suspect this happens to many of my counseling and coaching peers. For me there’s something mysterious and difficult to articulate about it. As I’ve become better at accepting it, I’ve come to think of it as listening down into the deepest layers of psyche, for the deepest story.


OK. I’m done now.

That wasn’t too hard, but I am glad it’s over!

So what are the gifts that others see in you? Which ones do you particularly need to love and embrace?

p.s. I made my self-love valentines by coating fabric with a watered down mixture of gel medium. It really does make the fabric paper-like. I learned this from Janice at Taproot Studio. It’s a beautiful place to visit.

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