Compare Less, Contemplate More

“Compare Less, Contemplate More.” This was the take home statement of Phil Dooley when he preached in the Hillsong Sydney service we attended several Sundays ago. I was so moved by his sermon and figured it would be nice to “contemplate” on it further here on my blog. 

I remember taking a similar approach to heart at a very young age. When I was 7 years old, my mom overheard me talking to a classmate on the phone. (Uso pa ang telebabad nun!) 

Classmate: “We have 3 aircons in our house! How many aircons do you have?” 
Me: “Oh wait…” *covering the mouthpiece* “MOM! How many aircons do we have?”
Mom: “Hmm…let me see..I guess we have 6, anak. Why?”
Me: “Oh nothing..” *uncovers mouthpiece of the phone* “We have SIX aircons!!!!!” 
Classmate: “WOOOOOW! You have SIX??!!”

Naturally, this classmate of mine thought we lived in a mansion and that we were filthy rich. The reality of course was that our house was actually a preschool and we had six aircons—one for each classroom! Our entire family of 4 was actually just cooped up in just one room because all the other bedrooms were converted into classrooms. Hehehe 🙂

I remember my mom sitting me down after that phone call, obviously disappointed with the whole “yabangan” scenario that my classmate and I were cluelessly engaged in over the phone. She lovingly explained to me some very valuable life lessons that day. I learned to 1) never weigh a person’s worth based on their wealth/material possessions 2) to never ever, ever compare myself with others. My parents practiced these two things all throughout their lives and it is because I’ve seen them breathe life into these principles day in and day out—it was more than just “words of wisdom” for me. Their practical application made it concrete for me. Seeing them live a life free of comparisons and material expectations made me understand how liberating it can be. 

My sister and I had our stubborn and annoying teenage phases with the standard “My friends all have cellphones! Why can’t I get my own cellphone?!”. And it would always end with a quick “Well..anak. That’s them, that’s not us.” And just like that the discussion was over and we would just have to deal with it. But what I love about my mom and dad’s philosophy is that it did not just end at the “Don’t Compare” mantra—they took a few steps further than this. They taught us to also be happy for others.  If a classmate of mine would get a new pair of GUESS Jeans, I would marvel at how nice the fit was on her and give her a compliment “It fits you so well! Ganda!”. Of course, I would have my SM Tweenets jeans on and totally rock it too. I loved how they looked on me and how they flattered my figure too. She had her stuff, I had my stuff. And that was that. There was no need to compare and no need to sulk over things I would never own. And in the same fashion of not comparing upwards, I also never felt the urge to compare downwards—to brag about the things I had that others lacked.

Of course, it’s all but natural to make comparisons. It’s human nature. It happens. But there’s always a threshold, I guess. It’s also healthy to compare yourself to others—but only, if you have a teachable and well-meaning heart. By pitting yourself against someone else who may be “doing better” than you in a certain aspect– you might be able to pick up some new tactics on how to do things more efficiently, adapt a better attitude, or gain inspiration. BUT if by comparing your lot with others you end up feeling discouraged, hopeless, resentful or envious—then maybe you’ll need to check your motives first.

At the end of Phil Dooley’s sermon he asked everyone in the congregation to participate in a little exercise. The instructions were simple, if he mentioned something and you fell under that category then you would have to stand and the rest of the congregation would have to “celebrate” you by clapping. So he began with “Which of you here have just gotten married? Or engaged in the past year?” So about 3 or 4 couples stood and the rest of us clapped for them. “Who just bought a new car?” About 5 people stood up, and we clapped for them too. “Who just got a promotion?” “Who just gave birth to a new baby?” “Stand up if you just moved into a new apartment!”. It was a series of claps and shrieks for a good ten minutes. The church was filled with such a warm, celebratory energy. It felt good to feel good for the good things happening to other people. We didn’t know these people but we felt incredibly happy for them. Imagine being happy for people we actually know?? People in our circles, people in our office, people in our barkadas! Just think of what kind of happiness you’ll fill your life with if you had the capacity to celebrate God’s goodness in the lives of others. As they say, it’s easy to be happy for yourself (when good things happen to you) but to be happy for others (especially when things aren’t going your way in your own life)—that’s when you know you have a HEALTHY heart. 

I am incredibly blessed to have friends with HEALTHY hearts. Walang yabangan, walang parinigan, walang inggitan. I feel safe around them and I don’t feel like I have to keep up with anyone’s expectations. They love me and Patrick for who we are and understand that the Lord has a unique life path for us—that this life path has it’s own color, shape and form and doesn’t have to look exactly like anyone else’s. And that’s how we see them too 🙂 Some friends are meant to be Ateneans, others Lasallians. There are those who are built to be freelancers, others are excellent at their 9-to-5 routines. Some are meant to be doctors, others lawyers, others are meant to be in the North, some are meant to reside in the South. Some have extra money, others have extra talents. Some get hitched at 20, others find the love of their lives at 45. Different stories, different blessings, different challenges—but LOVED by the Lord, all the same. The Lord manifests his LOVE in unique ways at a specified time for each of us. So don’t be confined to the “Buti pa bakit ako, wala pa rin” mentality that blinds us from seeing the goodness of God in our own lives. When you’re too busy looking at the lives of others, you miss out on the good stuff happening in your own little bubble! Sayang naman diba 🙂 If you must look at the lives of others, use it to inspire you! Like I mentioned a few posts back, it’s better to remind yourself that “If God can do this for them, he can do GREAT things for me!”. 

So the next time you see a friend get engaged (and you’ve been No-Boyfriend-Since-Birth), congratulate them. If an officemate gets the promotion (the one you’ve been eyeing), give them a pat on the back for a job well done. If a friend of yours was able to lose 15 pounds (and you’re still struggling with your no-rice diet), offer a genuine compliment! Instead of drowning in a puddle of envy and resentment, choose to celebrate others. So when your time comes to receive God’s favor, others will be happy to celebrate with you too!!! 🙂 🙂 

30 Responses to Compare Less, Contemplate More

  1. I keep on nodding while reading this post. A very good reminder to all of us. Thanks for sharing! Godbless u more! =)

  2. I understand completely what you mean – about comparisons having limits or “thresholds,” and that we should not weigh a person’s worth based on their material wealth. I am truly grateful that you shared this.

  3. Galeng! For a 30y/o like you you speak as if you have an eternity of wisdom under your belt! Kudos to your parents who’ve raised such a beautiful and talented daughter, wife and eventually a mom-to-be! Thanks for making me laugh and constantly writing meaningful insights!

  4. Thank you for sharing 🙂 There’s a quote from Louis CK on this subject that really struck a chord in me – “The only time you look in your neighbor’s bowl is to make sure that they have enough. You don’t look in your neighbor’s bowl to see if you have as much as them.” 🙂

  5. I admire the positive energy you have Ms. Patty. At some points in our lives (or mine), we really do compare more and contemplate less with what others have.This one is a one good read, a refresher. Thank you for sharing!

  6. Thank you for this entry Ms. Patty! I have been struggling for these past years about comparing my life with others that I temporarily didn’t acknowledge God’s blessings in my life. Ngayon ngayon lang talaga natatanggap ng puso ko ung mga bagay na hindi para sa akin. God is really great talaga because now everything’s falling into place. I’ll keep this in my heart and pass it down to my future children para they’ll also have healthy hearts.

    Continue being a ball of sunshine and positivity! God bless you and Mr. Filart! 😀

  7. You were raised well. Thank you for sharing with (and reminding) us this wonderful piece of wisdom! 🙂

  8. This is sooo awesome Patty! God bless you more and more as you use it for His glory and overflow it to others!

  9. This is one of the best articles I’ve read, Patty. Very inspiring and full of positive vibes. Thanks for sharing! God bless you abundantly.

  10. Wow! Just what I needed. We really need to be reminded by these or should I say we really need to check ourselves by these every now and then. It’s a healthy practice and one that can really help us become better people. Thank you for sharing Ms. Pat. You really speak the reality and I can really relate. :

  11. I agree with this patty, i’m happy with my friend’s blessing no sugarcoating but there is a time that i’m also asking myself ‘buti pa sila’ thanks for this post for reminding us God blessed us on different ways.