Part 2 of 3 in a series about self-examination
A new year is a good time to objectively assess your relationships and make a plan to grow them more deeply in the coming months.
Since self-examination can be challenging, we created this series. These three articles help you evaluate 1. How you use your strengths in your relationships 2. How you value strengths of those around you (this article) and 3. How you blend your differences to develop unity.
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Once you have taken stock of how you are using your own strengths (Part 1), it is time to consider how you have been placing value on others’ strengths and how you can cultivate that ability in the coming year.
How Can You Embrace Others’ Unique Strengths?
The herd mentality can entice you to think differences are an aberration. The fact is that your differences and the differences of those around you are valuable because they are God-given: “God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us” (1 Corinthians 12:6, NLT). You are unique … and so is everyone else around you.
- Rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 is lowest, 10 is highest): how readily do I welcome the differences of those around me?
- In what ways can I embrace my uniqueness and others’ uniqueness simultaneously?
- Do I regularly praise God simply for His gift of differences – and how can I remember to do so?
Can You Identify Others’ Unique Strengths?
If you have not already identified specific strengths in your spouse, children, co-workers, or closest friends, spend some time observing these people. Note their tendencies as they solve problems, process information, manage change, and face risk. You could also invite them to complete a Leading From Your Strengths profile assessment or other strengths tool so both they and you have objective data to use as you build your relationship.
- To what extent do others in my life solve problems, process information, manage change, and face risk differently from me?
- What specific voids do those people complete in my strengths set?
- What biblical figures model the strengths I see in those around me?
How Can You Affirm Others’ Unique Strengths?
Affirmation is powerful. Who among us is not strengthened with confirmation of your abilities and encouragement you are using them well? You show you value strengths in others when you demonstrate appreciation to them. Proverbs 3:27 says, “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due when it is in your power to do it” (ESV).
- What opportunities can I take to express specific, verbal affirmation for the strengths in those around me?
- In what ways can I regularly thank God for the specific strengths He has placed in those around me?
- How can I encourage those around me when I see their strengths in action?
Looking Back and Looking Forward
As you look back and look forward, the question to ask is not, “Why are others so different than me?” Rather ask yourself, “How can I value strengths in others to build healthier relationships in the coming year?”
More Articles in the Self-Examination Series
Devotionals to Read during the New Year