Comparisons. Ask yourself two questions; first: do you compare yourself, and second: what do you compare yourself to? Feel free to contemplate.
Next, think about why you compare yourself. I would hate to start this out with a feminine statement, so I'll try to generalize this. At this stage in life, many of us compare ourselves relentlessly to perhaps "fix" the things about us that we don't like, vainly struggling to find happiness outwardly. My dad remarked once after I got all dolled up to go out, "Who are you trying to impress? Girls only dress up to impress other girls, not the guys." After thinking about that while on my date, I realized that for the most part, he was completely right. Keep contemplating.
I recently finished the book entitled, "To Draw Closer to God" written by President Henry B. Eyring. He gives a talk based around the text "Gospel Ideals" written by President David O. McKay, and how those ideals formed the basis of his actions growing up; he says that he took President McKay's words as his own personal standard of goodness. President Eyring states that those beliefs were once challenged as he played a game of basketball with some returned missionaries when he was only 17. Their discussion centered around dating and obviously girls, and the points they made were very different from the ones President McKay had published. President Eyring struggled with these thoughts as he compared himself (and the ideals instilled from President McKay's book) to those RMs'.
President Eyring goes on to present this idea: " Luckily, in a few years, I learned that they were wrong and President McKay was right. Or perhaps, in fairness to those young men, I learned that the things I thought they had said were not the true standard of goodness. But, you see, that's the problem with using people as your standard or your guide - they may be wrong, or you may be unable to discern what they really think and what they really do."
True. How impossibly true. We often compare ourselves to those around us: Do I have the nicest car? Do I have the nicest home? Do I have the best of this or that? Grief - sometimes it can get exhausting, trying to live up to the things we view in others, whether its the correct perception or not. In the end, we never get a true reading of comparison - simply because we are not able to discern others in perfectness.
Instead, President Eyring suggests, we should use the Lord as our standard. "Those who can speak for him, under authority, are holding up the true standard of goodness." See 3 Ne 12: 47-48.
This thought was liberating. It didn't matter what anyone else was doing - all I had to do was answer the questions found in Alma 5 to really gain an understanding of where I needed to be in reference to where I was/am. If I can also answer those 15 critical questions, I must be doing something right.
The other day I stood talking to a friend, and though nothing profound was said, I walked in feeling uplifted - and a few minutes later, after I was combining all of my thoughts, this came to me: I can be whoever I want to be, because I am not vying for a position against anyone else. This isn't a race of who has what when, but more a path to walk in faith and humility.
I cannot even begin to tell you the joy I felt rush over me. I've never been one to step out of the "expected" box; you can ask anyone who knew me growing up. I now feel that as I keep the Lord's standard of goodness as my guide, I am more able to have confidence in who I am and really begin to develop that. It comes to me as simply as the thought, "I can decorate my home however I want, simply because I can like whatever I like and I do not have to compare myself any longer."
Have you had this experience? Tyler smiled at me when I told him this and said, "I'm glad you finally got there. Its such a nice feeling." He has been so patient while I've figured this out and luckily he laughs at the small things to bring me back to the right perspective. Its nice to have someone like that. I really find strength in him, and knowing that I have him forever negates the need to compare myself to anyone else. I must say, I wish I would have figured this out sooner : )