Breathe Issue 31

What are you good at? Baking, running, writing? Are your talents visible, award-winning even, on display for all to see – the first-prize rosette for a lemon drizzle cake, the medal acknowledging a completed marathon, the winner’s certificate for a short story? No? Don’t worry. The reality is that most skills, accomplishments and triumphs are less obvious, but that doesn’t make them any less meaningful or remarkable. 

It’s easy, for example, to underestimate the care taken to comfort a troubled friend, to brush aside ‘as nothing’ a kindness shown to a colleague who’s struggling or to forget a smile that lifted a stranger’s day. And it’s possible to miss entirely that sometimes getting out of bed in the morning and putting one foot in front of another can take a marathon effort. 

Yet these everyday feats, which tend to garner less applause and fewer exclamations of incredulity and admiration than more conspicuous achievements, are amazing and enriching. They bring ongoing help, love and understanding and enrich life and soul.

Of course, there’ll be occasions when tiredness, lack of time, waning interest or self-doubt make these less visible tasks impossible. And that’s okay. In fact, it’s more than okay. It’s totally fine. Because what’s important is to recognise that everyone’s human – good at some things, not so great at others – and life is complicated. No one wins first prize every day, no one uses the full breadth of their talents every day, no one is perfect full stop. 

So, let’s hand out virtual rosettes for all our efforts, seen or unseen, big or small. One step at a time.