How to Treat Your Talents Like a Lover

by Lisa Rothstein on 04/11/2010

OK, or maybe just your best friend.

I HEART MY TALENTSMany of us treat our talents as if they are burdens, “shoulds” or something to feel inadequate or guilty about. Having a lot of potential in any area can feel like an obligation that begs to be put off. And when you’re blessed with many talents, it’s like  being blessed with a huge family at Christmas – it’s supposed to be a holiday, but you feel like hiding under the covers until February. That half-finished novel looms like a big mountain that you’ll climb…someday. The art supplies gather dust as they bristle accusingly from a corner.

Fall in love again

It’s sad, because it’s possible to love your talents and develop a lifelong relationship that supports you. Just look at how you treat the people you care about most in your life. It’s true, sometimes we take our best friends and loved ones for granted, as we take our talents for granted. As the song says, we always hurt the ones we love. So maybe it’s time you worked on your relationship.

How can you treat our talents like a lover or best friend? Let’s imagine: when you are in love with or best friends with someone, someone you really value in your life, what does that relationship look like?

You think about them a lot.

You don’t have to force yourself to think about them, you enjoy it. You don’t need constant reminders, that person is on your mind a lot of the time and the thought of them gives you pleasure. You’re always thinking about how to do things for them.

You check in with them often.

You don’t let weeks, months—or even years—go by without calling and checking in. No one has to prod you to make the call, you don’t procrastinate about making it, and there is no guilt because you haven’t spoken in a while. Even if you don’t have as much time to spend as you would like, you still manage a few minutes just to check in and let them know you are thinking about them. You’re up on all their latest news and don’t need a long recap to bring you up to date on what’s going on with them, because you already know. And if by chance more time does go by than you planned since the last time you talked, you know they’ll let you off the hook, welcome you back, and soon you’ll be chatting and enjoying each other like you only spoke yesterday.

You don’t drop them when something more interesting comes along.

Betrayal or fickleness doesn’t even cross your mind a relationship like this one. You are in for  the long haul, and even though attractive options are out there, they would never tempt you to drop your best friend or abandon your lover.

You enjoy and look forward to spending time together.

The prospect of hanging out together prompts a feeling of anticipation and pleasure, not dread and depression. You don’t look for excuses to cancel or postpone, and you would never just blow them off. Why would you? You want to be with them.

Being “married” isn’t boring or stifling.

You don’t expect the infatuation phase to last forever, and you can settle into a long-term relationship with a sense of commitment, security and joyful anticipation. You don’t drop the relationship because “the magic is gone” when all that’s really happened is that the honeymoon is over and the real work of building a relationship has begun. You don’t feel trapped, you feel grateful. You find excitement in what you are creating together, rather than in the thrill of the unknown and new. In fact, you are finding new things to love and appreciate every day in you current relationship as it deepens over time, instead of seeking the new in someone or something else.

Your relationship may change, but it never ends.

As you grow, your interaction may not always look the same as when you first met, but you’re still connected in a deep and real way. You are still—and always will be– a part of each other.

The “Young and the Restless” counterfeit version

This stable, affectionate, respectful and mature relationship with your talents is the opposite of the immature “soap opera” version: where you have a brief, hot infatuation that quickly fizzles, angst-ridden breakups and make-ups, treating the other person badly or ignoring them and then feeling guilty,  and flirting madly with each new hottie that crosses your transom. This behavior, besides whipping up empty drama and making us miserable, shows not only immaturity but lack of faith – in your relationship and in yourself. Maybe you think you are incapable of commitment. Or that you’re not good enough. Or your restlessness masks an insecurity about your judgment and choices, so you run after anything that seems new and exciting, thinking “maybe this is The One.” Or the incessant dabbling allows you to always be starting over and never having to get to know or develop any of your talents in a deeper way.

Does any of the above sound familiar? (It does to me, as I remember many such previous relationships with men, and with my talents, before I got wise and “grew up” as I saw how this behavior did not work for me.)

Activity: Renew your relationship with a talent.

  1. Go on a “date” with one of your talents that you have been neglecting for a while. Plan to spend some time together and just appreciate it, and yourself. It can be a whole day or just a mini-break for an hour to get reacquainted. If there is a specific project you have left unfinished, dust it off and give it some love.
  2. How will you treat this relationship from now on? How often will you check in? How will you decide to feel about it? What things can you do, or stop doing, to nurture it? Decide now how you will be in this relationship.

How do you show love to your talents? Share your insights below.

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