not want to be like

How Not to Become Like the Person You Don’t Want to Be Like

not want to be likeEasier said than done.

We all have folks we do not want to be like. Our focus is what decides what we will become. Our focus also decides who we will most become like. That’s because we become that on which we focus. We compare ourselves to the person we don’t want to become like – thus focusing on that person and those character traits we dislike. By constantly comparing ourselves, our focus is on that person that we do not want to become instead of focusing on who we want to become.

The Dynamics of not being like the person you do not want to be like

Your father might be an alcoholic or a workaholic, and you might never become an alcoholic or a workaholic. Guaranteed, you will still develop some of those character flaws that put your father where he was unless you focus on the positive instead of who you don’t want to be like. You’re bound and determined not to become consumed by alcohol or work and to provide for your family like he didn’t? How do you plan to do that? By constantly focusing on his traits to make sure you’re not becoming like him? Before you know it, you’ll develop those same character flaws that took him down the wrong path.

Your mom is a perpetual liar, shading the truth and shaping untruth to make things look the way she wants them to be? You’re never going to become a liar like her, so you constantly compare the way you are doing things to the way she did them. You might not become a liar, but guaranteed you’ll develop some of her insecurity traits because your focus is on her and not on who you want to become. By constantly comparing, your focus remains on something you don’t want to become. To a certain extent, we become like our focus.

You have a sibling or a cousin whose business dealings are (you think) shady. You’ll never become like him! Then you begin comparing yourself – constantly checking him in your mind to see if you’re like him or not.  If you’re honest, you’ll discover that there’s more than one way to be stingy. You might not become dishonest like he is, but you will struggle in your business because your focus is on not becoming like him instead of becoming like Jesus.

It seems so simple and straightforward, but the reality is that unless we deliberately choose to focus on the positive, our natural tendency will make us compare ourselves with those we dislike, despise, detest, or with whom we just don’t get along. We want to make sure we’re not like him or her. We say, “Well, at least I’m not as bad as [my dad] was.” Really? Since when does that give us license to claim success if we’re not as bad as someone else!

not want to be likeUse your time to focus on what’s right

We will focus on something or someone. When we’ve been hurt by the misdeeds of others, we want to guard ourselves from being hurt again.  We do not want to be like that person, so our focus naturally is on the person who lobbed grenades. In order to steer clear of them, we focus on the person we do not want to be like to insure that we won’t become like them.  Inevitably, that focus insures that we become like our focus. 

The same is true of the friends we keep. Our friends will influence or encourage us to follow a certain course – which is the same as the course on which they travel. We become like the people we surround ourselves with – whether in person or in our thoughts.

You want to not be like someone you dislike? Quit focusing on them and their character flaws. Certainly, you should pray for them. Concentrate on developing character qualities that are noble. Fill your mind (and your focus) with qualities that are noble, kind, true, of good report, and of excellence. I call that running my thoughts through the Philippians 4:8 sieve. It’s true that we can’t ignore things that have happened; we can’t deny there is pain and discord in our lives. But we don’t need to focus and dwell on those things or those people.

Focus – to become

Focus instead on who you want to become, instead of the person you don’t want to be like. It won’t happen automatically, but it can become a habit when you make that deliberate choice each day. When you find yourself comparing, turn the other way and change your focus.  Refuse to focus on the person you do not want to be like. Remember: you will become like your focus!

Not to be like

This post is re-posted from four years ago.

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