Strengths are subjective to who you compare yourself with.
When I was in eigth grade at a private school, I felt like I owned the place having known my 24 classmates for 8 plus years. Then I graduated. I attended a 2,000 person public high school. All a sudden I felt like a drowning fish in a huge ocean. I liked the comfortable pond. My volleyball team was undefeatable. I finally came out of shell more playing Anita for our play West Side Story. I got to be more of who I liked being. The competitive math nerd who was shy yet feisty when it came to Call of Duty or laser tag.
My baseline comparison was against my peers. When I looked up to brother and his other seniors friends, they made me feel belittled. Like I didn’t know much about anything. Today I asked my mom what my strengths were. I was shocked by her response. She thinks I am fearless and do everything in my life with gusto.
I probed more about this. I most have MANY fears. Needles. IVs. Gore. Small spaces. Public speaking. She doesn’t mean in comparison to any of that though. My mom said it’s because I take initiative, welcome change into my life, and take action despite being scared. That is not the status quo, so she says it’s unique.
But then when I compare to others, I am scratching the surface of the possible. Why is the way I see myself so different than how my mom sees me? Is she more objective in comparing me against my past self than my own self?