All of us have found ourselves caught in a pit of comparison. On my journey, the Lord has led me, guided me and taught me how to love more fully and move out of judgment. How many of us have ever been entangled in the adversary’s subtle snares of comparison? Whether we think we are better than someone else or that we will never measure up to another person, we are trapped in the pride of comparison.
In the words of C. S. Lewis: “Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man. . . . It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone.” (Mere Christianity, New York: Macmillan, 1952, pp. 109–10.)
Why do we find ourselves in this place of separation? How can we drag ourselves out of this pit?
One of the most powerful steps we can take to change this weakness is to recognize why we start to compare. Often in the midst of trials, we let ourselves get depressed or overwhelmed and think, “Why is this happening to me? Why does she have life so easy? Why can’t I have the life that she has? It is not fair.” Looking outside ourselves for answers to our trials can often seem easier. However, we can choose to act differently. We can choose to go within to find the answers. As we left our Heavenly Father, we knew that part of the joy of this life would include painful, broken, and wounded elements to teach us. So what can I do differently to move out of comparison?
As we move out of a state of pride, we can humble ourselves before God, seeking guidance. Looking at our situation differently can help us to shift out of this miserable state as we begin to ask questions like, “What can I learn from this situation? What is God trying to teach me? What can I learn about myself because this person is in my life?”
God is intimately involved in the details of our life. He sends specific people in our realm to teach us lessons we need to learn for our eternal salvation. The path God has for us is perfect. The people placed in that path are there for our learning.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell assured us,“No one else is placed exactly as we are in our opportune human orbits.” (“Consecrate Thy Performance,” Ensign, May 2002, 37–38.)
We are all mortal beings with the natural man inside. It is natural to be frustrated, irritated, or mad at others. Our character is defined by how we choose to respond to these feelings. Do we allow the enticings of the devil to lead us down a path of comparison, or do we choose to learn from these feelings and experiences?
Upon pondering my life, I have come to recognize that I begin to compare myself with others when I have feelings of inadequacy. I remember as a child, my Christmas was humble in comparison to my friends. My family had enough to meet our needs; however, we did not have the latest trends in toys.
My Christmas presents consisted of things that I needed with usually one fun toy. Cabbage patch dolls were the trend that year. Of course everyone around me had one, or at least that is how it felt. I wanted one so badly. Daily, the popular kids brought their dolls to play with at recess. The classroom even had a designated place for everyone’s dolls to be placed in until our break time.
I begged my parents for one in vain. I was very aware of our financial situation and the amount spent on us at Christmas time, and this doll did not fall into the budget. That year my parents tried to please me. They bought me a doll that “looked” like a cabbage patch doll.
I was embarrassed that we could not afford a real one so I choose to not bring my doll to school. Sadly, I was unable to see my own personal worth at that time.
Throughout my life, I have come to notice God is trying to teach me to see myself as valuable, despite the things that I own. “The truth is comparing ourselves to others doesn’t just steal our joy, it robs those around us of the rare gift of a woman who has learned to offer her uniqueness to the world.” (Unknown) I matter. I am important.
You matter. You are important. Stand up and declare who you are, a divine child of God. The adversary attempts to trap us in snares of comparison. We have power to choose how we respond to the situations in our life. Let us choose differently and get different results!
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