Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Comparisons

I've been thinking lately of how often we compare ourselves to others (often in a negative way.) It's something that I admit I'm guilty of far more often than I'd like to be. I see other women who seem more of everything that I'm not and Satan uses that little niggling doubt to make me feel like I'm somehow of less worth because I don't have the talents or abilities that someone else has. I have to catch myself in that train of thought and try to combat it with positive thoughts about the talents that I DO have, or how thankful I am that so and so is good at this or that because that is a blessing to my life also.
Often I'm reminded of my lack of styling and decorating sense. I am a pretty plain person- partly by choice (I love simplicity) but also because I have no real confidence in making things look great. I can look at this as a real disadvantage and beat myself up over it (sometimes I do), but I also try to look on the bright side. I love seeing how beautifully decorated other women's homes are. I love seeing how they put everything together and how they themselves also often look like a work of art. If I didn't have a deficit in this ability, I may not be able to so readily recognize and appreciate the beauty when I do see it. If we all had the same talents and abilities everything would be so common and boring!
The comparisons often don't stop at just being slightly envious of others' talents. How often do we look at someone else and think "I wish I could be that skinny!" or "I wish I had curly/straight/blonde/brown/perfect hair?" How many times do we inadvertently make judgements about what a person is like based on their looks and our differences?? Why do we feel the need to compare ourselves and label ourselves as not being as good? We all have strengths, and we all have weaknesses. I wouldn't really want to trade with anyone else- I'm not sure I could handle either their strengths or their weaknesses! God gave me everything that I have and everything that I am- isn't that good enough? I think I've at least come to a point in my life where I recognize that I'm somewhat plain in dress and styling, but I can also see that I was blessed with nice eyes and shiny hair. If my body is a bit more "shapely" than I wish it was, well, at least my husband appreciates it! (I'm still working on being more grateful for having a body that gains weight so easily!) I am good at organizing and I'm fairly good at growing flowers (don't ask about the veggies!) I'm able to look at things from a unique perspective because of where I've been and what I've been through. And none of this makes anyone else less of a person if they can't do those things! I think it's great that I can draw from the strengths and talents of so many great women and be able to contribute whatever I have to offer also.
Living in this world, where we are daily told that we need to be thin, not have grey hair, have perfect teeth, look like a model and be able to be a successful wife, mother, engineer, scientist, etc. (you get the point!), it's easy to get caught up in comparing ourselves and seeming to come up short. I'm so glad God has helped me to see that none of that is what matters. He doesn't care what I look like, what I wear, what I drive, or how perfectly decorated my home is! God cares about what I am on the inside, and what I'm willing to do with the talents He has given me. He's happy with me when I'm doing what He has commanded me to do- love others. Comparisons just take time away from doing something for someone else, and that's not what He wants.

6 comments:

chelle said...

ahh the shapely womens club...ya know..Ihave been there A LONG time..I try to blame it on my children..and well..hmm It is my genes, my diet and well some of it was from pregnancies where I never lost the weight afterwards. SO would I trade my kids to be skinny...NO WAY...would I give up my parents, grandparents to be skinny..NO WAY...would I give up that extra helping of food...DOUBT IT..Unless it was a life or death situation. (just kidding I do restrain myself when I want to) We all need to learn to live with our weakness and overcome them when we can...but we can't to it on our own. We need to rely on HF's guidence, strength and support. Too often we don't use that resourse and resort to comparisons and negative feelings. I am THE worst at all this but I do understand that that is where I need and hope to be some day!
Thanks for sharing Patty!

Mama D said...

Thanks for sharing this perspective. I like the way you worded the part about others' strengths also blessing us. Not comparing myself to others is something on which I constantly have to work. I appreciate the reminder to be grateful for my strengths *and* my weaknesses -- for that is who I am, a daughter of God learning to become like Him.

lou said...

Gee--- I've always thought you were perfect. You're not???? I love your beautiful smile and generous hugs. I can always count on you to see things in a clear (and very spiritual) light. I'm glad you've come to accept yourself, because I love you the way you are. I couldn't imagine anything that would make you any better than the perfection- the true Daughter of God that you are already.
Me , however- there's some work to be done.

Leslie said...

Boy, I struggle with this too -- especially when I'm around James' sisters. They are wonderful, and we get along great, but they are both model-beautiful, always wearing the latest, cutest styles, and they eat healthy and exercise! You can imagine that they might be just a little bit intimidating when I'm in the comparing mood. I have to try to accept myself for who I am.

You are fabulous Patty, as well as the rest of you! I'm grateful for who you are, and that I have the priviledge to know each of you!

Papa D said...

Fwiw, I have found that *often* the people to whom you compare yourself - the ones whose lives you wish you led - are the same people who are looking at you and wishing they led the life they think you are leading. It would be nice if we could quit comparing ourselves to others and just accept them and us for who we are.

carrie said...

omgosh! patty! i guess i haven't made myself clear...i wouldn't trade you for all the tea in china, or anything else they make and export to the us of a. an i know exactly what your talking about. i think we all do. guilty, guilty, guilty. but at least you recognize the pattern and the source of it. many if not most people are clueless of that and as a result they just become bitter, ungrateful and miserable over time. but i am so very grateful for your talents and strengths. you bless my life with them constantly. i'd be lost without you. and that being grateful for gaining weight so easily? is that possible?