“Standing Out vs. Sticking Out Like a Sore Thumb”

Something has been troubling me for a while now, so I figured I might as well get it off my chest and end this year with a bang. I see a lot of people who believe they are Standing Out (and that’s great); however, I have also noticed that some who see themselves as Standing Out are actually Sticking Out Like a Sore Thumb – Big Difference!

Standing Out means to be very noticeable. While Sticking Out Like a Sore Thumb is often used to describe someone who is very noticeable, usually because they are unusual or inappropriate.

Why is this so important? I’m glad you asked! Many of us are embarrassing ourselves because we believe our inappropriate actions are causing us to Stand Out; when they are actually making us Stick Out Like a Sore Thumb. We are blaming the world, the system, the devil, other people, and everyone else for our missed opportunities, when the real culprit is staring back at us from the mirror.

Example of Standing Out – You are admired for how well-rounded you are. You have the ability to shift, as needed, contingent upon the setting. So, if you are with family and friends, you know it’s okay to be a little more relaxed. When you are at work, you understand you are there to work, but are not opposed to participating in office fun during special occasions. You have learned and accepted there is a time and a place for everything. You understand it’s not about losing yourself, but about exercising self-control.

Example of Sticking Out Like a Sore Thumb – You are loud and boisterous by nature (this is me), and this is fine when you are around family and friends. However, you insist on behaving this way regardless of your environment, even in business and more professional settings. Your attitude is “I’m not changing. This is who I am.” You take no thought for how your behavior may affect/disrupt others around you. Your actions are far from professional, or mature for that matter.

Example of Standing Out – You have your own unique style of dress. It’s different from many, but it is tastefully put together.

Example of Sticking Out Like a Sore Thumb – Your thoughts are “I’m not worried about what others think about me,” when you leave the house looking disheveled and poorly dressed on a regular basis. Then you get offended when people don’t take you seriously when you are dressed as such and trying to conduct business. It’s unfair to expect them to take you serious, when you didn’t take it serious enough to dress for the occasion.

Example of Standing Out – Your very presence shifts the atmosphere without you saying a word. The purity of your heart and the Light that shines through you is magnetic, causing people to be drawn to you.

Example of Sticking Out Like a Sore Thumb – You have to be (need to be) the center of attention, no one else, just you. You actually get upset if someone else is getting more attention than you, and you accuse them of trying to steal your spotlight. Then, you shamelessly do whatever it takes to be noticed, and you are so unaware, that you actually believe you are Standing Out. Nope, you my dear, are Sticking Out Like a Sore Thumb.

Moment of Transparency: One of my good friends and I had this discussion last year, except we were critiquing ourselves. We are both loud by nature, and we are surrounded by others who are usually loud; but we both agreed that just because that is our nature, doesn’t mean we can’t work on being mindful of our settings and learning to use our “inside voices.” The same for appearance. My style is VERY DIFFERENT and that’s okay, but I had to accept that there are times when I have to “tone it down a little;” and that doesn’t change who I am; I get it. I also had to accept that it is NOT okay to continuously come out of the house unkempt. There is no excuse for me because I have everything I need to look presentable, especially as a lady. This is all a part of growth/maturity.

So, That Settles It. Take the rest of this year and do a self-assessment. It’s up to you to decide whether you want to Stand Out or Stick Out Like a Sore Thumb. Trust me, Standing Out will open doors for you, but Sticking Out Like a Sore Thumb will get some doors slammed in your face. You’ve been warned. The choice is yours.

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect (Rom. 12:2 NLT).

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