Present Tense

I’m all good…

As I continue to shift my consciousness, I’m happy to report that I have nearly stopped beating myself up about things that I’m bad at and have actually begun feeling grateful about the things I’m good at.

Being able to pat myself on the back for accomplishments without the corresponding ‘yeah, buts’ about my failings is a big step for me.  I suspect that a lot of you struggle with this as well.

It’s silly in this alleged “age of empowerment” for us to feel that we can only focus on where we fall short.  It’s considered impolite to brag about what we’re good at, but I think it’s healthy.  I’ll go first since being impolite has never really bothered me.

I am a very good radio host.  It took me a really, really long time to say that out loud and believe it.  I’m approaching my 30th anniversary in radio and I’m just reaching the point where I can feel like I’ve mastered my craft.  Can I improve? Maybe, but honestly, I think I’m very, very good at my job.  That doesn’t mean I  can coast or get lazy or cocky or obnoxious; in fact, I  think that I’m less cocky and obnoxious since acknowledging this.  I’m very good at what I do and I have nothing left to prove.  I believe it and know it’s true.

I’m grateful for my intellect.  I’m grateful for my unending curiosity.  I like to learn, particularly if I can see tangible results.  I tend to completely immerse myself in a subject or process until I feel like I have a working knowledge.  I’m a dabbler; I have a vast store of knowledge on anything that interests me.

For instance my husband and I used to brew our own beer and it was really good.  It was a time consuming process and when I say that I don’t have any patience, I know that’s not true.  Making beer is a long, detailed process.  A batch of beer takes at least 6-8 weeks from start to finish.  Good home brew requires and demands patience and attention to detail; two things I used to believe that I lacked.

I spent the past year learning how to bake bread by hand.  No bread machine. All kinds of breads.  It’s a lot like brewing beer because it’s a fairly specific process, with some leeway for creativity.  Beer and bread are living organisms, thanks to the yeast. Kinda cool.  My bread is very good and I am proud when I pull a fresh loaf out of the oven.

I’m a good writer.   I have no desire to write a best-seller or a novel.  I just like to write short-form, first person biographical essays and post them for everyone who wants to read them.  There was a time when I thought that unless you were going to write a book, there was no reason to write or publish.  Now, I just write because I have thoughts and experiences that I’d like to share.  It’s not to make money or become famous.  The saying is “write what you know”; so I do.    I think it’s brave to post what I write on the internet, where anyone on earth can read it and know me; to open myself up to criticism, mocking, judgement. None of that bothers me.  I’m good at it.

I’m a good athlete.  I always have been.  I was never picked last for teams in school.  In fact, I got picked before some of the boys.  I’m competitive and I like to win.  I’m a GREAT slow-pitch softball pitcher. Seriously.

Does this seem kind of egotistical and self-aggrandizing to you? It probably would have to me a few years ago.  How dare anyone trumpet the stuff they think they’re good at?  We all have “things” to work on!  Nobody is perfect or better than anyone else!! Right?

Wrong.  We beat ourselves up over our shortcomings. We can’t take credit for our brilliance and talent because if we do, we’re shoving it in the faces of people who aren’t as happy or accomplished.  We must not accept compliments.  We must point out all of the things that we aren’t good at, to prove how humble we are.  In fact, we point out our shortcomings so often, that we define ourselves by who we aren’t or what we can’t do.

I reject that.  It’s taken me a long, long time, but now I’m gonna toot my horn.  I’m good at a LOT of stuff.  I’m good at stuff that I haven’t even tried yet!  Oh, yes I have my shortcomings and my faults, but I’m sick of focusing on them.  The more we focus on our negatives, the more others focus on them and that sucks.  Make a list of everything you’re good at. Post it on your ‘fridge or your desk or your mirror or your Facebook or Twitter.  Then, make a list of your shortcomings….and burn it.

March 25, 2012 - Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , ,

10 Comments »

  1. We parents tend to beat ourselves up about raising our kids. It’s a HARD job….but I’ll say it….I’m a really good mom. Sure I am going to mess my kid up in some fashion, but she’s happy, healthy and as well adjusted as she can be for having a human being for a parent. Thanks! I’m good, too.

    Comment by kandisnz | March 25, 2012 | Reply

  2. Jane, it’s good to hear you are happy with who you are … you should be!

    Comment by Mike | March 25, 2012 | Reply

  3. Love this one, Jane! I agree with you all around! I believe it’s the age we are at and what we’ve seen and learned throughout our lives. I am at the same point in my life. Here is a short conversation I had with my kids just last night. When I was little, as far back as I can remember, I’d ask my mom what I should draw. She’d say a house on a hill, every time. Simple…line over, line down, house on the edge. At 51, I realize now that I had been drawing a house on a cliff all those years. No stability, no foundation, no support. Now it’s time for me to think of my whole life that way and get that house on a solid foundation like it should be. Wow, right? I really have to thank my now favorite author, Augusten Burroughs (Running With Scissors) for all the insight. He has really brought a lot of things to light in me during the past year or so.
    So thanks, Jane, for this blog, and keep being good…it’s really the only way to be!
    By the way…I’m a pretty good mom (ask my 5 kids) and a really good teacher! Just sayin’!

    Comment by Marcia Bischof | March 25, 2012 | Reply

    • Marcia:

      Augusten Burroughs is one of my favorites, too. I love his book, “Dry”, for obvious reasons. I love your story about the house on the hill/cliff.

      Thanks for the comment.

      Jane

      Comment by janelondon | March 25, 2012 | Reply

  4. Hi Jane, what a great post!! It’s all that stuff you’re great at and your honesty that makes your listeners (like myself) able to relate to you! We are all given certain gifts and talents, it’s nice to see you embrace it…! Have a great day ♥

    Comment by Becky | March 25, 2012 | Reply

  5. Awesome post. Glad to hear you are good at so many things. Your softball talents would be much sought after in the Fraser Valley rec league!

    Comment by J | March 25, 2012 | Reply

    • Really?? Hook me up!:)
      Jane

      Comment by janelondon | March 25, 2012 | Reply

  6. So true Jane. We look to catch people doing somethng wrong. I am good at catching the kids and staff I work with doing something well. This relates back to one of your posts on creativity and self esteem. How do we look at ourselves. So what if I look at my self in a more positive light than someone else who does not follow me around all day. I feel my positive attitude and enjoyment of life’s simple pleasures is infectious. Do we all have to hear and face the facts that there are way too many people who do not share our attitude, or aptitude? Yes, that cannot be avoided but we do not have to embrace the bad by living our life by their rules. I am leaving a legacy of change for my daughter, my boys and the adults that I encounter every day. Is that bragging? Ask the 33 year old that I had worked with 17 years ago who called me from Arizona on a whim the other day. THAT is what turns my clock sister. (and I do remember picking you in Phys Ed class before some of the boys, but you were NEVER picked before me.:)

    Comment by Tim | March 25, 2012 | Reply

    • Tim
      I can tell that you’re a great mentor, husband, father and friend. It comes through so clearly.
      It’s even better that you revel in it and are proud of it.
      And you were a MUCH better football player than me:)

      J

      Comment by janelondon | March 25, 2012 | Reply

      • Thanks J. I actually am aspiring to be a better writer. I have 22+ years of experiences that could be a great comedy, or the great American tragedy. Maybe somewhere in between would be better. I am proud of you and would love to be able to drive to work listening to your show.

        Comment by Tim | March 26, 2012


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