Make a List of Your Good Qualities

When I’m getting to know a new friend, I ask about special interests or skills. Know what makes me sad? The times I see shoulders drop and hear, “Oh, I can’t do anything special.” And if I begin to list the qualities I see in her, often she gives me a surprised look and shakes her head.

I understand that struggle especially since some of my childhood relatives responded to my joy at having conquered a project with accusations I was bragging. So I quickly learned to downplay any new skill. But appreciating our good qualities isn’t the same as bragging about them. Yes, I understand low self-esteem and, on some days, proclaim that as my special realm. However, I also know that walking slump shouldered through life pleases the Enemy. After all, as long as we beat ourselves up, he doesn’t have to bother.

Thus, instead of thinking we can’t do anything well, let’s pretend we’re impartial talent scouts who list our skills, accomplishments, beliefs and character. So take a deep breath and dare to make your own list. In fact, have fun as you describe your abilities, achievements, curiosity about the world, and considerate treatment of others.

Beware, though, that too often we tend to disregard our own gifts and want the gifts of others. When I list my abilities, I struggle over the fact I can’t play the piano. After all, proper Christian women are musical, right? But as I concentrate on the things I can do instead of those I can’t, I get to list public speaking.

Judy struggled with listing what she could do, too. Finally, she wrote, “I can understand complicated dress patterns.” Understand? I’ll say! She can construct an outfit that rivals any designer creation. When I wear the things I’ve sewn, women smile graciously and say, “Oh, did you make that?”

If Alice were to show us her list, she’d lament it took her forever to put even one thing down because she was so busy thinking of the things she can’t do. When she finally talked herself into thinking of the things she can do, she listed “Give a great whistle.” Having freed herself from listing her definition of proper activities, she had fun pondering changing her car’s oil, making Southern spoon bread that calms her husband when he’s upset, cutting fancy paper dolls freehand for their daughters, and hanging wallpaper without getting impatient. That simple little list started her grinning, and from there she began feeling better about herself.

So let’s encourage ourselves by looking honestly at our own skills—and appreciating them. And whispering a sincere “Thank You, Lord!”

About sandrapaldrich

Sandra P. Aldrich, author and popular speaker, loves the Lord, family and all things Appalachian. Isaiah 41:9-10
This entry was posted in appreciation, confidence, encouragement, regrets, self-esteem, skills. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Make a List of Your Good Qualities

  1. minaraulston says:

    Hello Sandra, I love that you are such a real, down to earth person, not a celebrity. I have also had people accuse me of bragging when celebrating a success, only it happened more as an adult when I found brand new gifts, despite the fact I was giving God the glory for blessing me with new gifts. And, it sounds like my sewing talents are about as good as yours. I use to feel bad because I can’t decorate and can’t draw a straight line with ruler and of course for a woman to be considered a homemaker she should be able to decorate and do all kinds of crafts with children. A two year old can make a better looking craft than I can.
    But, even though I started writing late in life I have always been skilled with language, from being a great speller as a child to writing articles and books now. I just have to keep reminding myself of that. It’s been good for me to move away from home. People who don’t know me read my book and tell me how it helped them understand some things or that I was “right on” when talking about abuse. Unlike my older brother who told me when I was a teenager to “stop using those big college words”, which meant anything more than two syllables.


  2. Thanks for encouraging a postivie view of our talents. Also, thanks for following me on Twitter!


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