If you’ve ever seen an advertisement that portrayed someone as being flawless, happy, and enjoying the perfect life, you may have felt a twinge of sadness or discouragement. The world has a nasty way of encouraging us to compare ourselves to others, causing us to judge ourselves harshly. This may be because of the way it pigeonholes people according to marital status or some other category. However, we can take heart; God loves and accepts us the way we are; therefore, we can too.
A mindset of comparing ourselves to someone else usually makes us come up short. This kind of thinking can cause us to dislike what we see when we look in the mirror. However, it’s not wise to let our minds go in that direction. “Not that we [have the audacity to] venture to class or [even to] compare ourselves with some who exalt and furnish testimonials for themselves! However, when they measure themselves with themselves and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding and behave unwisely” (2 Corinthians 10:12, AMPC). We must understand that all of us have gifts and talents placed inside us that no one else has; making comparisons minimizes what God has blessed us with.
Sometimes it’s hard not to be affected by the constant stream of unrealistic expectations coming at us from all directions. The message our external environment sends says that we need to change in order to be accepted and loved. When we feel pressured to fit in, we can keep in mind how unique we are as individuals. “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well” (Psalm 139:14).
Trying to live by the world’s standards can make us feel like a square peg in a round hole. It tells us we’re too tall, too short, too fat, too skinny, too young, too old—in short, that we’re just not good enough. By comparison, God’s standards are radically different; no matter what anyone else thinks about us, we’re His beloved. “Keep me as the apple of Your eye; Hide me under the shadow of Your wings” (Psalm 17:8, NKJV). When we just can’t take another day of being compared to a “perfect” image that isn’t even real, we can run to Him.
God’s point of view is different than everyone else’s. When others hold us to pre-set external expectations, He doesn’t. He screens out what the world deems important, and sees things others miss. “…For the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). God sees us, mistakes and all, and still accepts us.
We can love ourselves, regardless of where we are in life. Love is a powerful force; it can’t be stopped by any limits others try to place on us. “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love” (John 15:9). Loving ourselves for who we are is easier when we know how Jesus feels about us. Sometimes we need to block out everything else and focus on His love for us.
We don’t need to accept negativity from our environment. It’s okay to be okay with ourselves. “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Believing this helps us maintain our peace.