So funny story, but I never wanted to be friends with Rachel.
(Yes, that’s right, blog-Rachel).
(Actually, I don’t know if I told you this, Rachel. Please let me know if I can tell this story when reading this draft).
I have a vivid image of seeing this tall girl with beautiful long hair who illuminated with chill and confident vibes in a crowd of people. Someone had pointed her out to me and told me that she was a writer.
“You should meet her. She’s really cool!”
I took a closer look.
Damn it, she does seem really cool. There is no way I’m standing next to her.
The green-eyed monster had bit me with all of my insecurities and I remained nice but slightly aloof for a whole year. Until I somehow ended up reading a draft of one of her stories and tried to give some form of constructive feedback. I also gave her a hug, which apparently convinced Rachel to be friends with me.
(I do give out great hugs).
I find it somewhat hilarious now to reflect on what I thought and felt. Not because Rachel is not cool (I’m the awkward friend in this duo), but because of how my thoughts have dramatically changed. Instead of seeing this random tall girl who gave off vibes that I wished I had, I just see Rachel. Kind and curious Rachel who covers her walls with random quotes and who will space out in the middle of conversations. I love that Rachel.
In the space of two years, I went to avoiding standing next to her to constantly going over to stand next to her and even having a blog with my name next to hers.
I’ve been reading a book called Compared to Her: How to Experience True Contentment by Sophie De Witt (great last name by the way, Sophie). To be honest, this has been an uncomfortable experience. It turns out that I am a comparison junkie, hooked up to an unconscious stream of thoughts and judgements.
I compare myself to friends, to sisters, to family members, and to strangers on the streets. A little glance here and there is all I need to judge myself. It’s always something versus another thing and I am never satisfied. Whether I come up short or win by a long shot.
She’s prettier than me. She’s skinnier than me. Damn it, she wears that jumper better than me. Wow, that haircut does not suit her. It definitely looks better on me.
Even when I think I win by a long shot, there is no long-term satisfaction but long-term obsession and insecurity instead.
We can all agree that comparing ourselves to others isn’t always wise, but what do you do about it? How do you stop what is mostly an unconscious process?
I’ve compared myself to others out of insecurity and pride. I’ve compared myself thinking that I was not enough. I’ve swallowed down lies and misunderstandings of myself.
First of all, who am I?
Sophie De Witt (2012) describes the core identity of a woman content with who she is and where she is at as being rooted in Christ. The contented woman knows that she is ‘significant in Christ, satisfied in Christ, and secure in Christ’ (p.71).
I am complete in Jesus. I am made significant, satisfied, and secure in Him. That is my innermost being. There is no hierarchy of value among human beings because we are all equally valued.
Then why am I not happy with that?
Because I’m putting myself where I don’t belong. I have put myself in the centre of my world, when I don’t belong there. That is where Jesus belongs.
That is my treatment for a comparison junkie like me.
Sophie De Witt (2012) puts it like this. Let God be God (p.55)
Our compulsive need to compare comes from pushing God out of the centre… So the cure is simply to reverse the way we see the world and ourselves. We need to restore God to the centre of our lives, and to find all we need, at each point of our days and in every part of our dreams, in Him (p.55)
To compare myself and to judge is to play and assume the role of God, with a hierarchy of value to assign myself to. That is not my role. I do not have a place in a hierarchy of value but I am simply valued.
By not comparing myself, I open myself up to new risks and new relationships. Like with writing this blog with my long-distance best friend.
So with that in mind, I take a deep breath and let God be God, and let me be me, with no hierarchy to contend with.
De Witt, Sophie (2012) Compared to Her: How to Experience True Contentment, The Good Book Company, UK