Question:

Hello Sir,

I had a question about trying not to compare myself to my friend. Any advice is welcome!

My friend and I are very similar. I don't think I've ever had a friend so alike to me! We're both in college and graduating this year. She got a full academic scholarship to college, whereas I had to take out loans. I had a lot of severe physical health complications that impacted my grades during college whereas she is perfectly healthy. I have an average GPA (which dropped because of my health) whereas she has a 4.0 GPA. I have to study like crazy for my science classes whereas she barely studies and still does better than I. I took the entrance exam twice and did average whereas she studied for a month (the recommended time is 3-4 months) and did extremely well. We both applied to graduate school this cycle, and I didn't get in whereas she did. This fall she is going to be a student at an elite school and while I am happy for her, I can't help but feel insecure.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not jealous, I don't have any malice feelings toward her. I'm just envious of her because everything she has (good health, good grades without a lot of effort, going to graduate school on the first try) I want! Everything seems to come so easy for her but everything seems to be such a struggle for me. I've tried to tell myself to stop comparing but it's gotten so bad to the point where I avoid going on Facebook just so I don't have to see her updates about graduate school

I believe I can make it too someday and am taking the necessary steps to get there, I just wish it could come easier for me like it does for her. I've never been in this situation before - ever! I'm always used to being the friend who everyone is compared to, not the other way around, so this is new for me.

Please help me -- how do I fix this? How do I stop comparing? Thank you in advance!


Answer:

"Love does not envy" (I Corinthians 13:4).

The problem is that you judge your personal value by comparing yourself to other people. This is always flawed because there are always people better and worse than you. Such comparisons never give you an accurate assessment of who you are or what you are capable of doing.

While you start out talking about how similar you are to your friend, the truth is that you are not similar in intellect -- she out paces you. It doesn't mean you are dumb. It doesn't mean you are worth less. It only means that studying and learning comes easy to her. That's her gift and she is using it well in a worthy field.

Yes, you'll have to work harder for your degree. It might take you a bit longer to get where you want to be. So? Along the way you'll be forced to develop good work habits. You'll have to learn more financial responsibility. While hard lessons, they will benefit you. And, by the way, you don't have to settle for massive debt if you are willing to be frugal and work hard. [Rachel Cruze, "5 Ways to Pay For College Without Loans", DaveRamsey.com].

Now in regards to your friend, focus on your friendship. Cheer her on! "Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep" (Romans 12:15). Tell her she is doing a great job and mention nothing about yourself. Find other things also to encourage her about. Make it so that in the years to come she can look back and say that she is so glad that you were her friend.

"Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others" (Philippians 2:3-4).

Now is the time to conquer the pride you've developed over the years and demonstrate to yourself and others what true humility is. The test comes, not when everything is easy, but when it is difficult.