Loving yourself: Students shed light recognizing and accepting people's gifts

Written by: 
Hannah Jones

Three BYU-Hawaii students shared their experiences and advice to finding and developing good qualities about themselves despite their insecurities.
 

Tori Herdegen, a freshman from Nevada with an undeclared major, said she can accomplish seemingly impossible tasks using her gift of determination.
 

She said she realized her determination as she overcame the struggle of attending track practice everyday. Herdegen, surprised and excited, said, “That wasn’t something I knew that I could do. I pushed myself so hard.
 

“I know that I’m not a perfect person, but from seeing the person that I used to be to who I am now, I’ve been able to see progress in myself. I know that it is because I am determined that [I] stick to my goals.
 

“There’s many times where I’ve seen myself determined to accomplish something [and] pushed myself to do things I didn’t know I could do. If there is a quality you want to strive for, you have to allow yourself to have patience.”
 

She added she understands recognizing personal gifts is not a simple task for people.
 

“It’s something I think everyone struggles with. You have to start small and make little improvements daily.  Don’t beat yourself up because you messed up once. Use that as a learning experience for you to know what not to do next time.”
 

Herdegen called also attention to qualities in others. “It’s essential to recognize good things in yourself so that you can find good things in others. I just think it’s the only way you can truly be happy. If you shame yourself all the time, how can you truly see the importance of others?
 

“It’s important to trust that [Heavenly Father] has a plan for us and that we are not worthless people. There is something that makes each of us…needed. [When] I recognize that there is something that I want... I work towards it. It’s cool to look back and see the progress I’ve made, but to know that I’m still becoming better. I still strive for new things and new qualities, and I still see progress.”
 

Allie Hunter, a freshman from California majoring in communications, stressed the importance of recognizing the gifts you already have. She said, “Once you’ve found out the strengths you have, you’ll know your weaknesses. So, play on your strengths and work on your weaknesses.”
 

She shared the qualities she liked about herself and said, “I like that I am mild [and] my demeanor is peaceful. Finding things that you love to do helps accentuate who you are, and once you find out who you are, then you are better able to reflect. I think there needs to be a balance of knowing who you are and recognizing the goodness of others.
 

“Once you know both of those things, then you don’t become prideful or insecure. You can meet in the middle and be confident in who you are.”
 

Hunter acknowledged those who struggle to find their gifts. “If you have insecurities, find things you like about yourself and use it to your best advantage. People will appreciate you for who you are because you know of your worth. The right people will value that quality.”
 

Tandra Taito, a freshman from Fiji majoring in hotel and tourism management, directed others to be aware and open to their qualities. She said, “Our gifts set us apart from everyone else. Be more confident.
 

“See how people react to you being around them. You’ll be able to recognize what people like about you [and] what they don’t. [You’ll notice] things you’re good at. Then, surround yourself with people you want to learn from.
 

Taito said she noticed how others don’t receive enough compliments and encouraged words that uplift others. “It would be hard for me to think good things about myself if I didn’t hear [good things] from others.”
 

Duncan Holmer, a freshman from New York majoring in art, talked about his qualities after a long silence. Deep in thought, he said, “I like that I’m able to talk to people I don’t even know because I make new friendships.”
 

He also added although he had never made any sports teams in junior high, it pushed him to work hard and eventually become a talented athlete.
 

“We’re all given different gifts from God. It’s our duty to find out our talents and strengthen them. You don’t go throughout life sticking to one thing. [Everyone] wants to see what [they] can do and see what [they’re] good at. It’s something we all have to do.
 

“I think people try to compare themselves [and say], ‘Well I’m not that good,’ and assume they must not have talents. But, they’ll have other talents that they can’t see. They’re not looking in the right spot. They need to put themselves out there to see what talents they have.”
 

Herdegen said, “Maybe you put yourself out there to learn soccer, but instead you learn really good communication skills. Soccer wasn’t what you became good at, but you realized you have another strength somewhere else. Trying different things, and not being afraid to step outside your comfort zone, allows you to find what things you’re good at.
 

“It’s not your talents that define you,” she said, “it’s what you do with your talents that define who you are.”

Date Published: 
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Last Edited: 
Tuesday, December 12, 2017