Comparing This Year to Last Year

They say it’s not good to compare.  I would agree with this in most cases.  You don’t want to compare yourself to others, because that will never turn out well–either you’ll become violently jealous of them, or you’ll hold everyone else to an impossibly high standard because nobody can ever be exactly like you.

On the other hand, sometimes comparisons can be beneficial.  When I find myself going through a rough time, I often try to gain perspective by comparing it to a more difficult period of my life.  One example that comes to mind was my mission, a time that was extremely rewarding but also very difficult.  No matter how difficult it was, however, I often found myself thinking that I would rather serve another year on my mission than spend another year in sixth grade.  Sixth grade, after all, was easily the most trying year of my life; I started my awkward phase, my friends turned their backs on me, my parents got cancer, and the 9/11 terrorist attacks happened.  In comparison to that, any other difficult period of my life seems like a piece of cake… double chocolate pumpkin cake with pumpkin frosting.  Sorry, I just had a random Thanksgiving flashback.  I’ll move on now.

I’m going through a trying time right now, but when I compare myself now to where I used to be, I can see how much better everything really is.  I feel much better spiritually this year than I did last year.  I feel like I’m on the right track, doing what the Lord wants me to be doing.  I have developed new friendships and strengthened old ones, which definitely was not the case at this point last year.  I feel more comfortable opening up to people.  I’ve even gone on a lot more dates than I did last year.  In fact, I’ve already gone on more dates this semester than I did all of last school year combined, though that’s not so much an accomplishment as it is a testimony of how nonexistent my dating life was last year.  But that is neither here nor there.

The point is that I think a lot can be said about reflecting on your current state, but instead of dwelling on the negative, try to compare where you are to where you’ve been in the past.  As we get older, we have more and more negative experiences.  That sounds semi-depressing, but it doesn’t have to be.  When we hit rock bottom, we can only go up from there.  Once we get back to higher ground, we can look back at the rock bottom, laugh to ourselves, and say, “Remember when I was at rock bottom?  I’m doing so much better now!”