Friday, October 26, 2012

Not Measuring Up

All women have "feminine genius".  A phrase coined by Pope John Paul II, which "speaks to woman's capacity to make room for 'the other'.  This capacity manifests itself in four different areas:  receptivity, sensitivity, generosity, and maternity." (as summarized in Endow study guide).  As woman, we are more naturally others-focused than our male counterparts.  If this seems unfair, consider for a moment, who sends birthday cards in your house?  I realize there are exceptions, as there always are, but we'll focus on the majority.

This beautiful gift of receptivity, sensitivity, and making room for the other, however, can sometimes morph into something very ugly.  Comparison.  It should be listed with the seven deadly sins.  Why?  Because the two fruits of comparing ourselves to another are rotten and result in many spiritual deaths!  If we compare ourselves to another, and find that we come up short, we focus on those things in ourselves which are deficient for way too long, and consequently squelch what is good in us.  Anytime we turn our back on our Creator to focus on the created (ourselves), we are sinning!  We are turning from the Greatest Good to a lesser good. 

The other rotten fruit born of comparison is pride.  With a clear "comparison victory" in hand, we rest easy, knowing that at least we're "better" than so and so, at least in doing or being "such and such".

I don't remember who said it, but I'm pretty sure she was a saint, "If only we had faith, we would show goodwill to all creatures; we should cherish them and be interiorly grateful to them as serving, by God's will, for our perfection."

So, what are we supposed to do if we compare ourselves to others without being aware of it?  I'm glad you asked, because we're all in this group!

We need to become aware of it.  When you realize you are doing it, STOP.  If your tendency is to focus on what is good in another (and bad in yourself), make a mental list of your own good qualities.  If your tendency is to focus on what is bad in another (and what is good in yourself), make a list of their good qualities.

If looking at Facebook, or People magazine, or ___________, leads you into the comparison trap, cut it out of your life.  It's not worth it! 

There will always be things in ourselves that need to be worked on.  It is by God's design.  These things bring humility - The golden ticket for admission into Heaven.  We must balance acceptance of self and our need for change carefully.  Matthew Kelly says it well, "We must approach this place of balance between accepting ourselves for who we are and challenging ourselves to be all we are capable of being like one would approach a high-spirited animal - calmly and slowly.

In order for us promote woman and her God-given dignity, we must make a conscious effort to stop tearing her down.  And that includes yourself, too!

Please forward this to your women friends!  We are in this together!!!

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for the beautiful gift of woman!  Thank you for her feminine genius!  Lord, please guard her against the temptation of comparing herself negatively or advantageously to others.  Please give us eyes to see and hearts to know when we are doing this.  Help us look to You only and embrace all others as a help on our journey.  Help us only to see what is good in others and also what is good in ourselves.  Help us to approach those things that need improvement, calmly and slowly.  We cannot carry our confidence in you too far.  Thank you.  Amen. 


  1. Thank you so much for sharing this and the others too. So helpful and encouraging. I'm going to look up that study.

    1. Hey Jaclyn! Thanks. Let me know if you need more contact information about Endow. I highly recommend it. We've had some great discussion. I commented awhile back on your blog on Catholic Sistas, but I was doing it from my phone and couldn't see the whole message, so I'm sorry if you had a comment from me that was unintelligible!