How many times a day do you catch yourself wishing you could do more, be more, have more, or look differently? At times I feel like there’s a scale on the world, weighing people as more or less attractive, more or less accomplished, or more or less talented. In a world so focused on outward appearance and ranking people as good, better, and best, it can be hard not to get caught up in it. Yet we know that comparison truly is the thief of all joy, and envy is its evil twin.
Can you image a world where everyone was exactly the same? We wouldn’t be able to have empathy, to love, and to learn from one another. One major purpose of life on earth is to learn and grow—if everyone was the same, our life’s purpose would be thwarted. I wonder, what if Satan’s grand plan is to make us all fit the same mold, so we can’t progress? Heavenly Father made us different for many reasons, but we have one common thread; we are all children of God. Let’s unite, build each other up, and work together, not against each other, to build His kingdom here on earth. Below are 4 quick suggestions to help you avoid comparisons and embrace who you are.
Put Him First
Sometimes, before my feet even hit the floor in the morning, I’m thinking I need a new house, a flatter stomach, a new wardrobe, and an exotic vacation. Why? Because some mornings before I do anything else, I check my social platforms. Social media isn’t bad, but like most things, it can become problematic if used excessively. A study from IDC Research found that 80% of smartphone users check their mobile devices within 15 minutes of waking up each morning. How many of us can say we get to our knees in prayer within 15 minutes of waking up? Or read our scriptures? I recently read several studies about the correlation between the growing depression rate and social media use. I’m here to tell you that it’s real, it’s strong, and it’s increasing daily. As I pondered on how I could personally fix this issue, my prayers were answered with, “Put God first, not social media.”
I issued myself a little challenge that I’d like to extend to you. Make every day His day by putting Him first. Before you do anything in the morning, say a prayer or read your scriptures. When you reach for your phone to pass the time, before opening any apps, OPEN YOUR SCRIPTURES! Download them onto your phone so they’re always accessible. When I began doing this it was as if God said, “Okay Ali, since you put me first I’ll take care of the rest.” Giving time to Him in the morning before I do absolutely anything else makes all the difference for me. I feel more confident, patient, loving and productive. I know it can do the same for you!
Use the Atonement to Build Confidence
We have all been given the most precious gift our Savior and Father in Heaven could possibly give us: The Atonement. When I get amazing gifts, I like to use them as much as possible. Unfortunately for many, that isn’t the case with the atonement. Some believe the atonement is strictly for sinners. We place the gift of the atonement on a shelf and let it collect dust. When we sin, we pull it off the shelf, dust it off, use it until we have what we need, then put it back on the shelf for another time, sometimes forgetting it’s even there.
If there’s one thing I want you to remember after reading this article, it’s this: The atonement isn’t just for sinners—It can be used every day in EVERY aspect of life. USE IT! Struggling with your self worth? Ask Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, to help you see yourself through His eyes. Is there someone you’re jealous of or don’t particularly like? Ask God to let you feel some of the love He has for this person. He will help. He always listens. No one says it better than Jacob, “Look unto God with firmness of mind, and pray unto him with exceeding faith, and he will console you in your afflictions, and he will plead your cause.” (Jacob 3:1). Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ want to help you. All you have to do is remember to cast your troubles at Their feet.
Make a List of Your Can’s, Not your Can’ts
I had a therapist once (yup, been there) who told me to become more conscious of my thoughts. Lately, my thoughts have been in list form. “I don’t have my own business, I have terrible skin, oh look, there’s another stretch mark, my house is a mess…” Yikes. Anyone would feel down on themselves thinking these things. Whenever I have a bad day, this list tends to run on repeat.
So, I decided to change it. Instead of repeating the negative script of things I “can’t do” I made a list of all the things I “can” do— including positive statements and things I’m grateful for. I keep this list in my back pocket for whenever that pesky negative list comes to mind. If we want to change our actions, we first need to change our thoughts!
Cheer Them On
“When I hear someone praised, it is hard not to think of myself as less praiseworthy; when I read about the goodness and kindness of other people, it is hard not to wonder whether I myself am being as good and kind as they; and when I see trophies, awards and prizes being handed out to specific people, I cannot avoid asking myself why that didn’t happen to me.” -Henri J. M. Nouwan
Sadly, I have to admit that I can relate to the quote above. So how do we overcome these feelings of jealousy? It reminds me of the teachings of Paul, when he spoke about how we’re all of the body of Christ. Meaning we are all on the same team. “That there should be no schism (division) in the body; but that the members should have the same care for one another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it” (1 Cor 12:25-26). If we can remember this one principle, how much easier will it be to cheer for every person that crosses our path? Even those we may be envious of? We are all sons and daughters of the same Supreme Being. Remember, we aren’t working against each other. We are all on the same team fighting the same battle—the battle against sin. When one person succeeds it helps us all.
Who says we’re supposed to base our worth off of someone else’s accomplishments or “highlight reel” of Instagram pictures? Instead of comparing, why not celebrate each other’s differences? Instead of being jealous of someone else’s accomplishments, let’s cheer them on! Instead of wallowing in self-pity because “she can do that better” give the gal a high five and move on!
In the past, I’ve let comparison completely tear me down, and I’ve seen it do the same to so many of God’s children. If I want to stay mentally healthy, I’ve learned that I need to actively fight against comparisons by doing the 4 things I’ve talked about above. I know that if you’ll do these things, you will find more peace with yourself, and with others, than you ever thought imaginable. Good luck!