I know a man, Ed, who never fit in with others as a kid. He was odd, and the other kids were not naturally drawn to him. He felt alone, hurt, and resentful. He had no successful relationships. He became a drug addict and spent some time in prison. Not happy.
Ed tried a number of jobs, but he just didn’t seem suited for anything. Then he discovered that he had a knack for working with computers, got some training, and found a job with a company that does information technology for homes and businesses. He enjoyed his work. His confidence spread over to his interactions with others.
I’ve seen him several times lately, and he’s still odd. But he’s found a measure of happiness that makes me smile. He’s done work for us, and he’s eager to do help until we’re entirely satisfied.
One day Ed smiled and said, “I like my job. This is the first year that I haven’t felt like I was drowning. For the first time ever, I was able to give each of my nieces and nephews a Christmas gift.” As he said this, he was so proud of himself that he just beamed. He’s sober, making a living, and as happy as he’s ever known.
Ed found one of his gifts in life, and he developed it into a career and a source of fulfillment. Self-help gurus used to gush about how we can “do anything” we put our minds to, and that we should try to improve ourselves in everything. But it turns out that there is a far greater sense of satisfaction to be had from finding our niche in life—a place to develop and use our gifts, as Ed did—than from struggling to be average in areas where our gifts are limited or non-existent.
Find your gifts. Yours. Develop them, use them, have fun with them. Become a great you, instead of a mediocre “someone else.” And thus you will add to the joy of feeling loved and loving.