1. Recognize the Strengths and Weaknesses in Others
One of the first steps in understanding your own strengths and weaknesses is recognizing the strengths and weaknesses in others. Jenny is amazing at presentations, but she may struggle to put together decent graphics. David knows how to fish and hike and is outdoorsy, but he can’t cook or balance a checkbook. God did not make us all one person, thank goodness! So why should we attempt to be the same? We all are unique and have our own life experiences. Treasure that! Go ahead and ask yourself what strengths and weaknesses do you see in your best friend, your mom or your soul mate? Do they have value in the world? Yes! Despite the fact they have weaknesses the combination of both strength AND weakness is what makes them who they are. Their weaknesses do not make them LESS THAN. So next time you find you are comparing yourself to someone else, ask yourself “is this THEIR strength?”. Recognize, acknowledge and appreciate their strength and remember they have weaknesses too.
2. Recognize the Strengths and Weaknesses in Yourself
Yep, you guessed it, it’s time to turn the tables. If you’re anything like me, you will find it pretty easy to list your own weaknesses so go ahead and get that done right away. Now what is your strength? If you’re having a hard time with this one here are a couple of questions to ask yourself. What do you receive compliments on? What do people say you are good at? Do you remember a time when you felt really confident in doing a project or task? What was it? What are you really passionate about? It doesn’t have to be a lot of somethings nor does it have to be spectacular. It can be very simple like you are good at listening to others, you are great at making coffee, you pick the best flowers or you have great handwriting, etc. I think you get my drift. Not strength is too small!
When we first were married we lived in a rather affluent neighborhood. We chose the apartment because while it was small it was well maintained and closest to where my husband and I both worked. So we worked as musicians that first year and didn’t make much, but were surrounded by million dollar homes, yachts and expensive grocery stores and specialty shops. Would it be fair to compare newlyweds straight out of college to middle-aged and retired successful business men and women? No. Are you comparing yourself to someone who has lived and had EQUAL life circumstances as you? Does that even happen? Not very often. We all have our own path and our own time in which things happen. For some it is quick and for others it happens over time. So when you find yourself mentally comparing yourself to someone else be sure you know EXACTLY how they got where they are.
4. Focus on GOALS
A lot of times when we compare ourselves to others we are looking at jobs, money, homes and success. The question I want you to ask yourself is: “Am I working towards what I TRULY WANT?”. If you want to be where that person is, have you put a plan in place to make it happen? What steps are you taking to achieve your goals? Are you WAITING for something to happen or are you WORKING to make things happen? Let’s be honest, these are tough questions and sometimes they take TIME to answer.
When I finished my Masters degree in Vocal Performance, I auditioned for MANY Young Artist programs. In the classical singing world, it’s the next step towards becoming a professional singer. I spent hundreds of dollars traveling the country auditioning at various programs in the hopes I would be accepted so I could continue my performing career. In the end, I didn’t get anything. Not one. However, my friend whose voice was so similar to mine that some people mixed us up, she was accepted into a program that year, the next year and then entered into a coveted artist program. Why did she make it and I didn’t? After my initial “life is not fair” gut reaction, I realized the reason she made it was because she really wanted it. Deep down I knew that the traveling, being away from my husband and home just wasn’t a lifestyle I was interested in. Not to say that I didn’t try my best at those auditions, but I think a part of me already knew it wasn’t what I TRULY wanted.
Are you comparing yourself to another person because it’s where you think you want to be or what you want to have? Be brutally honest. If you TRULY want it, then work for it. Make a plan, get others on board and go for it! You can do it! If like me, you realized you weren’t be honest with yourself, acknowledge that and move on. Don’t waste your energy on something you are not.
The devil is sneaky and highly skilled. He is out to get you unsettled, dissatisfied and make you feel like you are LESS THAN. If you are not happy with your life and your situation, PRAY. Pray for GRATITUDE so you may be thankful for the things the Lord HAS given you. Pray you may ACCEPT yourself, the GIFTS God has given you and where you are in your JOURNEY. Pray for PEACE so you are able to silence the comparison voice. Pray for GUIDANCE, COURAGE, WISDOM and STRENGTH to meet the goals you TRULY want.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. – Jeremiah 29:11-13
It doesn’t take much for the comparison voice to rear it’s ugly head. Remember to recognize that EVERYONE has strengths and weaknesses. We have our own unique journey to take, make certain you aren’t wishing for something you don’t even want.
Hebrews 13:5 “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
You are special. You are loved. Please share in the comments which of these 5 Easy Ways struck a chord with you!