Tony Rossi, Director of Communications                                        

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

With the prevalence of social media, Peggy Weber knows it’s easy to compare ourselves

with other people’s picture perfect lives – and find our own lives lacking. The award-

winning journalist and grandmother even does it herself sometimes. A few years ago,

she was in church for Good Friday services when the priest talked about Jesus loving

us and dying for us. She looked around and got the feeling that all the congregants there

were holier than she was.

Afterward, Peggy went to her daughter Kerry’s house for her grandson’s first birthday. Because it was Good Friday, the celebration was low key and the meal was simple. But Kerry asked Peggy, “Do you think I’m doing enough for his first birthday? Because some people hire ponies and clowns.”

Peggy realized that her own daughter was now doing the same kind of joy-killing, doubt-inducing “comparing herself to others” that she had done in church just a short time earlier. Peggy interpreted the situation as God telling her to talk about “being enough as we are.” She followed God’s advice and has now written a funny, insightful new book that would make good Lenten reading. It’s called “Enough As You Are: Overcoming Self-Doubt and Appreciating the Gift of You.”

In the area of religion, some people may feel inferior to those who have earned theology degrees. But Peggy shoots down the idea that only the highly educated can teach us about God. During a “Christopher Closeup” interview, she pointed to her grandmother, who “came over from Ireland at age 18 with nothing in her pocket but her rosary beads and her faith, and transmitted that faith to several generations beyond. She brought over all her brothers and sisters who had been orphaned and managed to build a life for so many people.”

Peggy’s mom also taught her some valuable lessons: “My mother often said, ‘I don’t go to church for Father So-and-So, or for this meeting, or for that group. I go for God.’ And she always had her eye on the prize. She always had her eye on the Eucharist and her prayer life. Every afternoon, she had a Ziploc bag full of prayers that she’d pull out and pray, and she’d pull cards for the deceased. She let me know that it’s the spiritual life and the focus on God that matters the most.”

One of the biggest influences on Peggy’s life was the patron saint of journalists, St. Francis de Sales, which is appropriate considering that Peggy has worked in the Catholic press for nearly 40 years. Many of her book’s chapters begin with a quote by him, including, “It is wonderful how attractive a gentle, pleasant manner is, and how much it wins hearts.”

In an age of angry, divisive voices, this is an especially important idea. Peggy said of St. Francis de Sales, “He was Mr. Rogers before Mr Rogers was here. He went to the Calvinists with pamphlets, and he went with kindness. If you go on [social media]...you look at all these people trying to prove they’re right, it’s so frustrating. My message is, ‘Chill everyone. You can like this and you can like that, as long as we have the basic tenets of our church in place. Let’s try and look at the bigger picture of loving our neighbor, loving ourselves, furthering our faith.’ I think my book reminds people to not go after each other and to accept each other in a good and healthy way.”

 

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