When I realize that God makes his gifts fit each person,
there’s no way I can covet what you got
because it just wouldn’t fit me.
I’ve been battling the green-eyed monster lately. The one who preys on my insecurity, and gleefully swooshes in when I’m feeling the least bit shaky about where I’m heading.
This sneaky, little <expletive deleted> usually pops up whenever I’m in the midst of other professional women. It nips at my ankles like a young, untrained puppy, peeing on my feet if I try to ignore it. Compare and contrast becomes my modus operandi. So I concentrate on what they have, focusing outward, and not in a good way.
I become vulnerable to all of the monster’s lies:
- They have it so together.
- They’re wildly successful in their business.
- They know exactly what they’re doing.
- They, they, they, they, they….
I succumb so easily, concentrating on what I lack.
I’m sure you can relate. We have such a knack for making ourselves feel inadequate. Of trying to live someone else’s life.
Because essentially that’s what we’re trying to do. The grass is always greener, yada, yada. It’s a waste of time to talk about why we shouldn’t do this. We already know the reasons.
So, how do we get out of this rut? I’m guessing that like me, you don’t want to stay there.
What I’ve discovered are 3 effective ways to pull myself away from comparing and focusing outward on what I perceive others have that I don’t.
When you make a choice to participate in an activity, think about your reasons for doing so. What outcome are you anticipating? Is it to build relationships? To have fun? To try to impress others? To be “seen”? Why, exactly, are you choosing this activity? Is the reason for you or for others? Is it to satisfy your needs or is it really because “you have to”? Get very clear on the why.
Closely tied to your “why?” are your objectives, the “what do you want to get out of this” reasons. If, for example, your intention is to build relationships, your goal might be to meet 5 new people and learn about their expertise, not in the compare/contrast-y way, but out of curiosity. What might they teach you?
Having goals is similar to a to-do list. Goals guide you on the actions you will take, which help you to focus on what you want and not on what they have.
It’s easy to lose yourself and a sense of your own value when you focus on what others have. The problem with this outward-looking perspective is that we conveniently forget what gifts and talents we ourselves have. We get caught up in the no-win compare/contrast cycle. The trick to turning this thought pattern around is to recognize that someone will always know more, and have experienced more than you. Their gifts to the world, unique to them, are not yours. They are at a different part of their journey, which of course, is not your journey. Once you accept these facts, ask yourself what your special gifts are. Acknowledge and own them proudly.
Someone will always be ahead of us in skills, expertise, and experience, just as we will always be ahead of others. What’s important to remember is that there are those who are waiting for our talents, delivered with our own unique style.
I am learning that these three tools help me to stay grounded in my intention, with a significantly clearer picture of what I want, all the while appreciating my own unique capabilities.
Hopefully these tools will work for you, too.
Your Call to Action
When you compare yourself to someone else what beliefs are you reinforcing about yourself? What will you choose to tell yourself to counteract these beliefs? Make a list of the 10 unique gifts you have been given that will make a difference in the world.