Tag Archives: Comparison

When you feel insecure, and wonder whether you are enough…

Do you ever have those moments, perhaps when you are doing ok, and have been working hard at your life, but something makes you feel inadequate, not quite good enough?

I think these moments come to us all, and perhaps we don’t recognise that we internalise certain false beliefs about ourselves at such times, because they leave an emotional imprint.

Maybe you have been doing your best, but then you come face to face with someone else’s accomplishments, perhaps they are younger than you, more vibrant, making changes that are positively impacting the world around them…and you suddenly feel deflated, as if what you are doing is not good enough, and wonder why aren’t you doing or able to do those things. Or maybe you’ve been working through some struggles and doing your best to get by, and make the most of what you’ve got, to have a right attitude, and at last you feel like you might just be getting there, to a place of contentment if not quite satisfaction. You’re doing ok. And then you see that someone else’s life is overflowing with the blessings you can’t imagine ever happening for yourself, and you wonder whether you’re just not good enough, not worthy enough, or why things are so much harder for you.

Maybe you feel like, despite the evidence to the contrary, you’re not talented, everyone around you is better, and those feelings of insecurity tug at your heart and threaten to bring you down.

And all the while, someone is looking at you and your life and thinking, wow, he / she is amazing. Maybe they see you as the girl who is smart, and beautiful and has many friends, who seems to breeze through life, and face struggles with strength and defiance. Maybe they wish for your home, or your talents, or to be able to travel and go where you have gone, or to be a strong independent singleton, or to have that seemingly happy family that you know is actually not that much of a fairy-tale from the inside. Maybe they see you as the guy who is always cheerful, smart, likeable, funny, attractive, with not a care in the world. And all the while, inside your mind and heart, it couldn’t be more different.

Just know that these feelings are normal, and we all face them at some point or another through life, and to varying degrees. Things are never just quite what they seem. There are things about each other we can’t see. We can’t see someone’s past, we can’t see their losses, their mental health struggles, their chronic pain, their illness, their fears, their unfulfilled longings, their low-self esteem, their childhood traumas, their loneliness. There is so much about each other that we fail to see, perhaps behind smiles and accomplishments that indicate that everything is ‘great’ for that person.

But we all are human, and we all have our ups and downs. So if you feel insecure, know that often this may come from comparisons with others, including false comparisons and negative thinking. Do we really have the right to judge and compare and make value judgements on the basis of that? I don’t think we do. It can be hard sometimes to feel as though you are enough, to overcome the lies that tell you you’re not worthy as a person, and to allow the Truth in. When Light shines on any of our hearts, it exposes the darkness that is in us all, and only by surrendering to the Truth, that we need to be set free and healed and saved and helped can we begin to be our authentic selves, unafraid to step into the Light.

You are unique, there is no one else like you, with the exact same blueprint, DNA, and intricate design as you. Even ‘identical twins’ are not the same. There is no one quite like you, and that is what makes you special. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. And yes, you’re not like that other person you admire, but you weren’t meant to be. You might not have the easier path, but are there not lessons that you could not possibly have learned otherwise? Lessons that might just help someone else in an incredible or small way.  You don’t look like them because you aren’t meant to. You don’t have the same life as them, because you weren’t meant to. And they don’t have your life. So when you feel insecure, remember that you are remarkably unique, one of a kind, unlike any other, and take time to seek the Truth and the Light that will illuminate who you are and who you are meant to be – uniquely, incomparably you. x

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Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom on Pexels.com

Where the grass is greener…

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Picture courtesy of Google Images.

The grass is greener where you water it. It may seem a bit glib to say so, but I believe it is certainly a healthy perspective to have.

I don’t know what your life situation is right now. Perhaps you feel that the grass is greenest right where you are – you may have been blessed with your heart’s desires in life, and if so, I am sincerely happy for you. Or you maybe distracted by looking over the fence at your neighbour’s beautiful lawn and rose studded garden, and lamenting the state of your own garden. You may have one eye on your lawn and one on theirs seeing positives and negatives in both of your situations. Perhaps the latter, despite possibly inducing a squint, is the most practical point of view. 🙂

However, why do we compare our lives with others? From a young age, it seems that society, peer groups, educational institutions, relations and the media to varying degrees indoctrinate us into the comparison trap.  We are bombarded with images of what our bodies ‘should’ look like, encouraged or pressured to excel and get the best grades, asked questions like ‘why can’t you be more like your cousin/friend/sibling/classmate so and so…they are so much more (fill in the blank)’. And the list goes on and on. It is hardly surprising that most of us go through periods of discontent with ourselves and our lot in life, feeling that somehow we’re just not good enough, or our lives don’t quite measure up.

A degree of comparison can sometimes be healthy especially if it makes us more grateful for what we have, and more desirous to help others who are less fortunate than ourselves. Yet, I don’t believe that this is the kind of ‘healthy comparison’ that most of us, however subconsciously, train our minds to make.

It’s been said that “Comparison is the thief of joy”, probably because most comparison stems from negative heart motives and results in feelings of jealousy, envy, pride, self-pity or resentment. The thief steals our joy and destroys our well being and relationships, or mars them at least.

We tend not to compare ourselves with those less fortunate than ourselves, and feel grateful for our own blessings in life, but instead compare ourselves and our lives with those who “have what we want” in life, have what we think will make us happy, and with a false sense of entitlement and perhaps a degree of prideful arrogance, have what we think we should have or be given.

Perhaps it is our responsibility to take the more mature path and keep our eyes fixed on our own lives and situations. That way we will be more likely to be a blessing to other people as well as taking better care of ourselves and our mental and emotional wellbeing.

I am called to “rejoice with those who rejoice, and mourn with those who mourn”. To be happy when other people are blessed and to show compassion to those who are hurting.

However, I am not superhuman, and have to work on having a healthy outlook on life. If I think back to my dreams as a little child, when thinking about that question we are so often asked when we are young, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”, I think my heart desires would have painted a picture of happiness, love and health. I wanted to be a writer and a painter or cartoonist, to be beautiful, to be happily married and have a happy family of my own, and to live and be close to the family I was born into. I would want best friends and a puppy and a log cabin in the woods, to be immersed in nature’s beauty and to travel the world. I would be a picture of health and happiness, a loving wife and mother, daughter, sister and friend. Life would be coming up roses!

However, ‘the once upon a time’ of my childhood dreams has not resulted in the ‘happily ever after’ I longed for. So what actually happened? Well, there have been ups and downs in my life. You might say I am an unpublished writer, as I am working on two novels that I have not shown to many people and that I work on privately in my ‘spare time’. Writing is an act of catharsis and release from trauma as well as a creative passion. I am neither a painter or cartoonist, but I do like to doodle, sketch every now and then, and indulge in adult colouring books. I have been called beautiful and pretty several times since my teenage years, but I also have a daily battle over being called ugly and disgusting from the painful days of childhood bullying and so my self identity is something I need to desperately refashion. I am single, neither a wife, girlfriend nor a mother, I am blessed with some good friends, however, my best childhood friend sadly passed away a few years ago. I have skin allergies and so a puppy is out of the question, and I own my own flat / apartment in the city. I have parks and a river nearby to where I live, I can take a longer trip and go to quiet beaches. I have battled health struggles over the years including severe eczema, severe clinical depression, panic attacks, generalised anxiety disorder, feelings of despair at life and wanting to end it all, post traumatic stress, complex trauma, nightmares, sleeplessness, chronic pain and so forth. I do live within an hour’s travel time of my parents, which is a huge blessing to me, and I have been fortunate enough to have a good education despite everything else going on, gained two first class degrees, have a full time job and have done some solo travelling!

So all in all, there are plenty of plusses and minuses, however, some seasons of my life have felt particularly dark. Now that there is more experience of the Light around me, I’d like to reach out to others and share some things that I find helpful when we are tempted to compare ourselves and lives unfavourably with the next person.

During times of suffering in my life, I have often been surrounded with good news from other people’s milestones in life, when I have felt like I was carrying a millstone. Perhaps you can relate? You’re going through a tough time, and emotionally you’re already struggling but then you get news of someone’s engagement, marriage celebration, first, second, third, fourth child while you remain childless, new home, travel adventures when you are not well enough to even leave the house. Know what I mean? Chances are if you’re reading this, you do.

However, that’s where choice and responsibility comes in. As does self-care. When you face a situation like that you may feel happy for your friend or the person who has come to good times in their lives, you may paint out the negatives in their lives and over emphasise in your mind the positives, you may feel a twinge of sadness and pain that you are not experiencing your longed for hopes and dreams. And that is exactly where choice comes in. Your choice. It is ok to feel what you feel, but what you do next is more important. Do you dwell on these unfavourable comparisons, do you indulge in feeling sorry for yourself, do you resent the other person, think ‘it’s not fair’, and go on a spiral of negativity?

Or do you celebrate that other person’s happiness, acknowledge your own feelings of sadness, take time out to take care of yourself and be grateful for the good in your own life? Because despite how ‘unfair’ things might seem, it is your choice and responsibility as to how you react, whether positively or negatively, what you allow your mind and heart to dwell on, and what you do to take a healthier path.

Your life matters. The things you take for granted, someone else is longing for. Truly longing for. One of the best relationships in my life is that which I have with my mum. I am grateful everyday, and yet probably not as deeply as I should be. A friend of mine volunteers with the city mission helping homeless people. She often comes into contact with women who have been abused, traumatised, addicted, raped, and sold into prostitution. We have prayed together for such people facing such terrible sadness. My friend told me of one particular woman, who was so relieved and even celebrated hearing of her mother’s death. This woman had been so abused and mistreated by her own birth mother, had been hurt and chewed up to such an extent that her death was a relief to her. I found this heart breaking. I think I appreciate my own mum all the more, and want to reach out to others in whatever small way I can in their suffering. Sometimes comparison can be good when it helps us to be more grateful and more compassionate.

I would encourage you to slow down, take time and really think of those things about yourself and that you have in your life that you are taking for granted. Things that other people are longing after. Take time and focus on your own little patch of green grass, water it, nurture it, and maybe even plant some seeds of love in someone else’s garden. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and add to the beauty that they already are blessed with. Mourn with those who mourn and plant something beautiful in someone who’s garden is dry and barren. And go that extra step in gratitude to express your thankfulness to the people who matter in your life. Give thanks to God. And know that your life is important, and it is up to you to nurture and invest in it. 🙂