Who are you? Who is your spouse or significant other? Do you ever wish that you or someone you know were different?
This is something with which I struggle all the time. Of course the comparison trap highlighted by social media in our culture today expands the magnifying glass of self-consciousness. Add this constant comparison to the self-imposed guilt of not meeting our own standards—even when well exceeding the expectations of others—and we end up a crumbled mess crying our eyes out in self pity.
Sound familiar? If not, that’s awesome. If so, how do we navigate the daily grind?
I recently read a blog post that my beautiful wife forwarded to me. Thanks to the invention of smart phones, moms today are in no shortage of “mommy blogs” to gain perspective on the daily struggles of women. The concept I appreciated most in the article is the recognition that there are plans for everyone in my life, including myself, that are not dependent on my achievement. I can be inadequate or not who I wish I was, yet there is another who holds the future aside from how I feel about myself.
We all fall into the trap of wishing that we, or someone who is close to us, was different. “I wish he was more tidy.” “I wish she was not so sensitive.” “I wish he cared more about his physical appearance.” “I wish I could make people laugh like she can.” I could go on and on and on. I know you could as well.
Here’s the truth of which I have to remind myself when I start down this path of toxic thinking: If I were different, I would not be me. Change one thing about my personality or natural gifting, and I would not be the unique individual I was created to be. Same goes for your spouse, your best friend, your son, your daughter, your mother-in-law (oh yeah, I just went there!), and everyone else in your life. If I change one thing about my wife, she is no longer her. But I married her. I chose her. I love her. Not some future version.
Ultimately, to wish you or someone else were different might be one of the greatest offenses to God. Essentially you are telling the originator of life that you could choose your gifting better than He. You could choose your personality better than He. The truth is that you are unique and were created for a particular reason. Now if He births a change in you or someone else, that’s something altogether different.
I am not perfect. You are not perfect. No one is perfect. Stop wishing you and those around you were different than you are. Is there room for improvement? Of course. So strive to be a better version of you where you can. But better and different are not synonymous.
To quote Sinéad O’Connor (which is not a phrase I would have ever guessed could appear on my blog), “How about I be me and you be you?”
How do you struggle with wanting to be different or wishing that someone with whom you have close contact were different?