Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Danger in Evaluating Ourselves Based on Others

"Do I have anything to offer?"

The answer to that question that always, “Yes,” but often we believe it’s, “No.”

Many of us feel like we have something to offer, only conditionally.  If we are with a group of people who are weaker than us—physically or otherwise—it’s easy to feel like you have something to offer.  It’s obvious.

However, when we are the weakest person within a group, it is easy for us to feel like we have NOTHING to offer.

Either way, we’re the same person, but why do we feel differently about ourselves?

Key Point: Many of us only appreciate our value when we have something to offer within the moment.

We feel like we ARE helpful when we are in a moment where we CAN be helpful.

Often, if we are in a situation where we cannot help someone in a certain situation, we feel helpless.  We FEEL helpless, even if most of the time we ARE helpful by nature.

Key Point: It is important to remember how often we (can) help people.

If we are able to help anybody during any part of our lives, by definition we ARE helpful.  So when we come across a situation where it is not obvious how we can help that particular group of people, we need to remind ourselves that we really ARE helpful.  We just have not thought of a way to help this particular person or group of people, YET.

Why do we feel that way?

Often, we place our own self-worth into what we perceive others think of us.

I know a woman who is ultra-competitive.  She is an intelligent woman who works extremely hard.  She wants to win everything, and she combines her intelligence and work ethic to help improve her odds of that happening.  She wins a lot, and she earns it.

Unfortunately, she is intimidated to be part of a group where she is the least intelligent person.


Because she feels like she has nothing to offer in that case.

Same woman...different perception of her value.

In this specific case, I mentioned to her—completely truthfully—that I’ve met fewer than three (3) people in my entire life who might have better time management and organizational skills than she does.  No matter how intelligent the other person is, she will (almost always) have THAT to offer the other person.

She always has something to offer—to anyone.

What she has to offer—in ANY situation—is extremely valuable, even if the other person does not have the experience or (ironically) the intelligence to understand its value.

Key Point: The other person’s perception of that value does not change the actual value.

However, many of us make the HUGE mistake of devaluing something, because someone else has.

By basing her value by how she perceives others perceiving it, this woman deprived herself—and many others—because her competitive nature would not allow her to see this difference.  She only spent time with people against whom she could “win.”  However, they really "lost," because she always had value to offer them, even if neither she nor they could see it.
For years, I made this mistake.  Now that I see things (at least THIS) more clearly, it pains me to see other people make this same mistake.

I felt like I could only help people when I had more skill or intelligence than they do, and I’m sort of right.  I can only help people who are weaker than me.

Key Point: Even the strongest people need help.

However, EVERYONE needs help.

Nobody can do everything.  Even if that other person has ALL of the skills needed and is stronger than you with each of those skills, THAT person does NOT have an unlimited amount of time.  You might be able to help that person by offering time that he (or she) does not have.

Time is a weakness that everyone has, including you…and definitely including me.

Key Point: Weaknesses are not always apparent, but they’re there.

“But it doesn’t seem like he (or she) has any weaknesses.”

Because most people do not want other people to SEE their weaknesses, they spend a lot of energy and take a lot of effort to HIDE those weaknesses.  At the very least, most people do not broadcast their weaknesses.

That means that they HAVE weaknesses, but it might take us a while to FIND them.


It's important enough that it's worth repeating.  Just because we have not FOUND their weakness does NOT mean they have no weakness.

I’m not trying to encourage that you find another person’s weaknesses to pick on them or wrongly take advantage.

Just know that EVERY person has weaknesses, and you can offer something to anyone at any time.

If you let the perception of someone else determine how much value you have to offer, you are in extremely dangerous territory.  That person (probably) does not care about you as much as you (should) care about you.

How can that person have ANY idea what your true value is?  Do you really want to trust that person to determine your value?

Sometimes, we don’t even know ourselves…not right away.  If it takes us a while to find that answer, we should not expect other people to find it any more quickly.

Key Point: We only fail to have value if we fail to see our own value.

Sometimes our vision is blurry for a moment...until we see things clearly.

Why would we want to cheat ourselves?  Why would we want to cheat others…of what we REALLY have to offer?

That’s lousy—providing no value for anyone!  Now THAT is really dangerous!!!

Know that you have value, no matter the situation.  Just take time to believe it, and you’ll eventually find it, no matter the situation.

We really need what you have to offer, even if we don't know it, yet.

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