Intro – do Good looking people have a hard time?
So let us all take a step back for a moment and contemplate the hardship that is being Brad Pitt, or Angelina Jolie. They recently got married in a not so secret location (look on any news channel to find out where).
When I was growing up Brad Pitt was considered to be the ultimate heart-throb. I am sure that you can name a few current celebrities who would fit that bill. We all feel that somehow, they have got it easy. They have money, connections and fabulous clothes.
I remember reading one magazine which had something in it that made me think; and it was an off-the-cuff comment by an actor called Rob Lowe, in which he implied that it is assumed, to a degree that if you are good-looking, you cannot be complicated, angry or in pain. I found this staggering.
We have somehow made it NOT okay for people who are perhaps prettier or more handsome to express themselves. Perhaps, subconsciously we are not giving them permission to be human; we instead think "how can you know pain or anger? " or " You have got it all going for you". Is being "better looking" actually a bit of a curse?
The curse of comparison
Remember when you were young and you took your first not serious exam. You perhaps were competing against someone in school for the top grade. That kind of comparison is, or can be beneficial. Healthy competition is what brings out greatness in victory or defeat; something that I wrote about in a previous article.
But that is not the kind of comparison that I am talking about here. This is the sort of negative jealousy that eats out your kindness and selflessness. You understand yourself because of what you are not, or who you are not like. Revisiting the topic for a minute – if you are constantly comparing yourself to someone better looking or more successful, then you are already in some ways cursing that person. You are causing the responsibility to lie with them rather than you. Jealousy is blame-shift.
Wanting more – coveting and longing for
What is the difference between "Longing" for more and being jealous for more? At my church we are believers in increase. We pray that there would be increase in finances, in business and in our personal lives. We believe in a God of the blessing and of the more. This was a hard thing for me. Somehow I thought of my God as someone who just sort of, left us to get on with it. I have always been fiercely independent. I have hated asking anyone for anything. I always thought that life was something that you had to get through by yourself. Being taught that I could ask my Father in Heaven for anything; that I could long for and hope for change and that it was OK to do that... was a real revelation to me.
I believe for increase in my life and I am asking God for it. Just as a daughter should! But what I have done in the past is covet material things; or covet the idea of an increase in my material possessions. Getting more clothes was my focus, not God. Comparison with those with a bigger pay-check was my focus. Not God. That person who was in the worlds standards "more successful" had not done anything wrong. Yet in my jealousy and anger towards them I was cursing them – and its effect on how I related to them was probably noticeable. Maybe that is why it is safer, if you are successful to hang out with successful people. You cause undue pain because in being a success, you are a mirror to those who consider themselves to not be. Yet... it is pain that is self-caused.
When is it right to dwell in simplicity? Simplicity without comparison.
I respect that life is, for some people very complicated. Whether it is a demanding job or a complex family life, sometimes "living simply" as advice can seem insensitive and insulting. There is a phrase, used by a well-known charity that we should "live simply so that others can simply live". The heart of living simply is not necessarily about denying yourself pleasure or cutting yourself off from engaging deeply in life. It is about instead embracing that your life can be ordered in a way that brings liberation rather than complication.
Choosing and walking in simplicity brings freedom. A small analogy may help here. Do you really need four or five electrical devices where one will do? Do you really need to have an account with five different social networking sites where one is entirely sufficient? Is it really essential to have 30 pairs of shoes where 10 good pairs that you take care of will be fine? (and yes I am female! )
I guess my point is that if we compare ourselves with others (and I am still working on this) we are the losers in the end. If we instead strive for a simple and joyful premise of living in God and he in us then will always win. Rather than desiring to be like a celebrity and fall short, why not try being like Jesus? He lives in you when you become a Christian. What God sees when he looks at you is righteousness and rightness with him.
There is no need for comparison. You will always be enough.
Rosie Robinson resides in Manchester where, in between feeding herself coffee and bagels, works for a financial services organisation. She attends a lively church called Audacious, enjoys reading, running and watching films and is currently on a trek with Jesus; discovering slowly but surely, all that life has to offer. And she has decided that she has the coolest big sister on the planet! (fellow young writer Amanda living in New Zealand).
Rosie Robinson's previous articles may be viewed at