Sunday, March 21, 2010

Do You Give Yourself Full Credit?

The dentist had just finished replacing an old filling for me. After finishing, he remarked, “Gosh, you were so calm and relaxed during the procedure. Most people tense up and get very agitated when I’m working on them.”

I explained that I used a relaxation technique I first learned in a childbirth preparation class more than 26 years ago, before the birth of my daughter. Focus on your breathing, and you’ll be distracted from the pain and discomfort that may be going on in other parts of your body.

What surprised me was that my dentist, who’s been in practice for more than 30 years, wasn’t aware of this simple strategy. I encouraged him to describe it to patients when they first sit in the chair, to help them experience less stress during their procedure.

As I left the dentist’s office and reflected on this brief exchange, I realized something important: the need to give myself more credit for the knowledge and experience I have – and to share it with others.

I started thinking about people who specialize in teaching meditation and other relaxation techniques. Usually, they’ve studied and practiced them for years, so they’re true experts. I have a thimble’s knowledge to their bucketful. Even so, my dentist’s response showed that I have learned more than I was giving myself credit for.

Too many times, we observe and admire expertise in others and minimize our own. In an earlier post, "Stop Comparing Yourself to Others,” I cautioned against this destructive tendency. The other side of the coin is to give yourself full credit for what you do know so you can use it to benefit yourself and others.

How often do you assume that what you have to offer is something everyone knows? The truth is, you have unique knowledge and experience that you’ve acquired during your life. And others desperately need this wisdom. Look for opportunities to reach out to someone who could benefit from your words. You won’t have to look far, I promise you. And you’ll enrich two lives in the process.

"Hide not your talents. They for use were made. What's a sundial in the shade?" - Benjamin Franklin


  1. I find joy in sharing valuable information with others. I also love to learn new information from others. I love it when someone says they'll try my idea. I try to remember that joy when someone shares an idea with me. I will use your tip and share it with my athletes.
    Thanks Meredith!

  2. I learned that in order for me to share my world with others I had to rebuild my confidence and regain my sense of self-worth after my accident left me paralyzed from the neck down. I found myself doubting whether people would be interested in hearing what I have to say. But, I've learned that by reaching out, I have the potential to touch at least one life which is more than worthwhile. I think the answer is to always speak, write, teach from one's own personal experiences -- in essence, from the heart.

  3. Lisa, I love your attitude about learning and sharing.

    Tracy, You are a true inspiration to me and others. No matter what physical challenges we have, we still have abundant value that we need to share with others.


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