The things that are obvious to you

I still can’t stop thinking about the mantras speakers shared at @togetherliveevents with @hellosunshine. This one is from @priyaparker and hit me in the gut. As a self-critical perfectionist, I tend to think that if something is obvious or easy for me, it must not be valuable or important. Here’s a small example. ⁣

Friends have come to me for years when they need miscellaneous writing help. I’ve edited resumes and helped draft important emails and brainstormed how to word tricky texts. Any time someone has responded to my efforts with positive feedback (because expressing appreciation for a favor is a totally normal thing to do!), I can feel my cheeks flush and my stomach clench. Not out of modesty, but because I think I must have tricked them. In other words: If you look to closely at what I did, you’ll see I’m a fraud. That formatting adjustment was super simple! That suggestion for what to say to your mom was just assertive communication 101! Plus, so-and-so is way better than me at this! My mind is ready with a long list of reasons why if you had my knowledge, experience, and wiring, you too would have been able to do what I did.

Well duh. The point is we don’t have all the same knowledge, experiences, and wiring. The things that come most easily to me, that seem most obvious, aren’t the things that come most easily or seem most obvious to you. And what’s obvious to you isn’t obvious to me. And gifts don’t have to be perfect to be appreciated.

I think we need all of us to honor our own gifts to do the important work in this world, especially folks whose gifts have been chronically suppressed and undervalued. ⁣I’m feeling inspired to stop discounting my gifts and start pointing out others’ gifts. Anyone else?


the things that are obvious to you are your gifts

Published by Emily P.G. Erickson

Emily P.G. Erickson is a freelance writer specializing in mental health and parenting. She has written for popular digital publications, including Everyday Health, Health, The New York Times, Parents, Romper, Verywell Mind, WIRED, and more. Emily is a professional member of the National Association of Science Writers (NASW), the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA), and the Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ). Previously, Emily researched PTSD for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and earned a master's in psychology. You can find the latest from Emily at

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