THE TAKE AWAY
By Kersley Fitzgerald
Quite a bit has been said over the years about how women compare themselves to their friends. About how it's unhealthy and not productive. It even hurts relationships. Comparing yourself to other women hurts your psyche.
What I have seen a lot of is this: if she is really your friend, it's damaging to her, too. It is one of the most awkward, uncomfortable, and hurtful things to have to stand silently while a woman goes through a laundry list of how you are better than she is. About how she wishes she had your…figure, hair, children, education, whatever.
I don't think we usually see it that way. Go back in the Bible. Leah had children and Rachel didn't. Rachel mourned; Leah gloated. Hannah had no children, although Elkanah's second wife did. She mourned. Elkanah begged her to see her blessings—his love. He couldn't bear to see her so hurt.
Modern Christian Culture speaks to the Rachels and the Hannahs. It isn't good to compare yourself to others. Be grateful for what God has given you. Find joy in your post-baby body or your life-giving mastectomy scars or the humble square-footage of your home. God's blessings are enough.
But here's another one: your critical attitude toward yourself hurts the friends you envy.
Your friend with the large, nice home wants to use it for ministry. But your comparisons to your own home make her feel her offer to bless you brings pain instead.
Your cancer/acne/accident has left you with what you think are hideous scars. But your comparisons to your friend's perfect skin cover over the sweet spirit she loves in you—and makes her so uncomfortable she starts looking for a burka.
Your pregnancy has left you with more lumps and stretch-marks than you'd wish on your worst enemy. You long for your friend's flat belly, not knowing she's tried for years to get pregnant and would gladly trade you.
If your friend is worth having, she loves you for you. She loves your smile and the way your eyes sparkle and your wicked sense of humor. She couldn't care less about your thin hair and your acne and the fact you never managed to get that degree.
If you are a friend who is worth having, you will not make her feel uncomfortable about things that are out of her control and that she doesn't care about. Her mom gave her those legs. She stumbled onto that career. And she has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that your nails chip at the slightest provocation. So why waste time complaining about it when there is chocolate to share?
My friend Catheryn has a beautiful home that I could never keep up and will always feel blessed by when I'm there. My friend Mary is preggers with #5 and I'm happy for her and I'm content with my adopted one-and-only. My friend Ashley had #2 and a few months later had zero body fat, and I'm pretty happy that I can still run my extra pounds three miles at 43 at altitude and not die. My friend Tracey is commander of an entire Air Force Wing, and I'm in awe of her and proud of her and content with my little desk at a non-profit ministry.
I resolve to celebrate my friends' successes and blessings without being jealous of them. I resolve to not compare my life to another I was not meant to live. I resolve to deal with my insecurities, and not try to give them to the people who were not meant to have them. I bless their babies and their homes and their careers and their mama's genes, and I resolve to be thankful I get to be a part of their beauty. And I resolve to bless them by sharing my own.
Photo credit: Dean Terry; some rights reserved
Tags: Christian-Life | Personal-Relationships
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