I live in Carrickfergus, a town most famous for its well preserved Norman Castle.
It was established in 1180 by John de Courcy. It has endured sieges, blockades, a French invasion, witnessed a battle between a Royal Navy ship and one from the American fleet during the American War of Independence, and survived the Second World War when it served as an anti-aircraft base. It’s been a barracks, munition store, home to Napoleonic prisoners-of-war, museum and is now a very popular tourist attraction.
I see it virtually every day, but barely take it under my notice. To me it has become an everyday building.
To visitors, though, it’s a marvel. Truly eye-catching and breath-taking. And it is.
Despite my complacency about it, I am immensely proud of the Castle and the other heritage sites in my hometown: town walls, ancient church, gasworks, harbour, ancestral home of an American President and a museum to commemorate the town being a base for the U.S. Rangers during WW2.
So many historic treasures on my doorstep, yet I pass by them without breaking stride. They are barely noticeable to my oblivious eyes. What was once new and exciting is now, sadly, commonplace.
However, at the slightest sign of criticism, I am quick to defend where I live, promoting the culture and heritage associated with The Rock of Fergus.
We all become complacent, or comfortable, with our surroundings: physical, environmental, emotional, familial, occupational, personal.
We don’t see the value of what is right in front of us at times. When’s the last time you said, or noticed, something positive about yourself? I mean, really noticed it? And told others about it?
I’m comfortable to talk endlessly about my town, it’s people, it’s buildings, it’s football team. I’m happy to share my personal thoughts and history with anyone. I’m not so confident in identifying and sharing any strengths I may have. I don’t overtly look for, or boast about them.
We all need to discover our castles, our walls, our heritage, our strengths, our talents, our values, our motivations.
They are there, but maybe over time have become part of the furniture, taken for granted, overlooked or hidden in plain sight.
Nothing wrong about being confident, proud and enthusiastic about yourself.
When visitors call, let them marvel at you.