Were you told frequently as a child how smart, cute or talented you were?
Did your parents shower you with praise and affection when you achieved good grades, made the team, won the championship, the science fair, or other awards, yet were indifferent to you or largely ignored you when you weren’t performing or winning?
Were you compared favorably or unfavorably by your parents to a sibling, cousin, neighbor, or classmate?
Do you find that in social situations, you rely on your looks, your “smarts”, your ability to tell a joke, your athletic or artistic ability, etc.?
Do you have a “go-to” talent that you are very proud of?
Do you feel driven to succeed in everything you do?
Is your self-esteem dependent on recognition by others?
Our culture places an exorbitant amount of emphasis on winners, winning, success, achievement, and so on. It is so ingrained in our culture (and in many other cultures, too), that talents and special abilities, the skills that you’ve worked hard to achieve, are all valuable.
But the extraordinary abilities you possess may not be your truest gifts.
Your quiet gifts such as your ability to listen or the way in which you touch another’s heart with your kindness may be worth an entire wall full of trophies.
The times you pour out your heart in song or prayer, or on the pages of your journal, where no one but you can see it, also enrich our World. Hidden doesn’t mean non-valuable.
People hide their most precious treasures in vaults, or safes with complicated combinations, behind tapestries or paintings, or camouflaged to look like a simple cookie-jar, book, or some other common object.
Your life even has value if, right now, you’re feeling unable to contribute, to touch, to produce, to make or do.
You are a creature with a Divine spark and have value by the simple virtue of the Creator choosing to make you a living, breathing part of Creation.
We know that children and adults with special needs are each here for an important reason. What if one of the reasons is to inspire the rest of us, to offer us the opportunity to give?
A baby about to enter the world, an elderly person breathing his last, and every life in between, whether on a stage or in a coma, has value.
Every life brings with it gifts, whether revealed or un-revealed. Royalty, celebrities, politicians, scholars, scientists, athletes, and so on are not living lives with an inherent value-quotient any higher than yours.
Believe that the gift of being here, the gift of being human is in and of itself, your greatest one.