You don’t have to “overcome adversity” in order to “know stuff.”
We live in a world that adores a good “triumph over adversity” storyline.
“She couldn’t run to save her life — now she’s a marathoner & fitness coach!”
“He plummeted into the depths of depression — now he’s mastered the science of happiness!”
“They were on the brink of divorce — now they’re running a thriving relationship counseling center, and making out like teenagers every daaaay!”
Now, don’t get me wrong. Hearing about someone’s journey from crisis to cloud nine is deeply inspiring. There’s magnificent wisdom to be found, in every “before & after” tale. I’ll never get tired of ’em.
But … what about those of us who haven’t overcome adversity?
Are we allowed to be healers, mentors & teachers, too? Are our stories worth sharing? Do we have any credibility?
I say … yes.
Take me, for example. I’m a gifted communicator & writer. But I didn’t have to “overcome” anything in order to be who I am. To quote Lady Gaga, “Baby, I was born this way.”
I’ve always loved playing with words. I’ve always loved expressing myself. My particular talents have always come naturally, to me.
With each passing year, I’ve realized that writing & speaking & expressing & clarifying & describing the indescribable does NOT come naturally to everyone. In fact, for the vast majority of my fellow human beings, it’s stupendously difficult.
That’s why my gifts are valuable. Not because I had to “fight” for them — but because they are rare. Because they are graceful. Because they come easy.
And so, as a teacher, my message is not : Fight, strive & transform! If I can do it, so can you!
But rather: Look how easy it can be. Come. I’ll show you how this works, for me…
Does this mean I’ve never “suffered” in the slightest, or that my life is a pristine temple of bubbles & peonies & miniature pony hoof prints, in the snow? Of course not.
I know what it means to feel pain. I have been called names. I have been criticized, even threatened, because of who I chose to kiss, how I chose to dress. I have been a stranger in my own body. I have felt the sting of rejection. I have been strangled by looping, frenzied thoughts, sparked by biological currents outside my control. I am no stranger to darkness.
But when it comes to my work in the world, suffering is not my storyline.
For all my fellow naturalites, phenomenons, prodigies, savants, virtuosos, wunderkinds and improbably gifted creators of ease:
Don’t invent artificial adversity for yourself, in order to feel authoritative — like you’ve “earned” your right to speak.
That’s utterly unnecessary.
A gift is a gift is a gift.
Know yours, and use them well.
Do you align with the “triumph over adversity” storyline — or are you a “natural-born talent?” Something in between? Or something else, entirely?