I’m, by about 5 to 10 years, younger then my 3 older brothers. This age difference was too big to really connect to my brothers when still young. As a consequence I more or less grew up as an only child. Mostly observing what was happening around me with a minimum of communication and interaction.
To still be able to evaluate people and situations I had to develop strong sensing skills. Having difficulty acquiring knowledge through reading (because of dyslexia) also demanded above average ‘listening’ and ‘guessing’ skills. But only much later, when my self confidence was restored, these various ‘survival techniques’ became real assets from which I now benefit on a daily basis
I now tend to picture myself as a turtle: Slow (which is now by some seen as a good thing) and quickly hiding when perceiving danger (all tough not so quick and often as before), but also sensitive and creative (to overcome my limitations) and an intrinsic motivation to keep moving forward (I do not give up easily).
But most of all, knowing the value of listening. Deep listening (to yourself and others) is a very effective tool when you embark on a quest for your natural purpose. As this purpose already exists the main challenge is to discover it in between all the noise and clutter. Deep listening means training yourself to listen with an open heart, without judgment or expectations and to willingly accept whatever new information, pleasant or unpleasant comes to you. Meditation and non-violentcommunication exercises can help in developing these skills.
There is a (personal) side effect that I still have to work on. To create space for this process to unfold I unintentionally and temporally (and without notice) withdraw from communication. Leaving people with an uncomfortable feeling about what is going on.