MANILA, Sept. 18, 2013—Hurt roots from ungrateful comparison and it is through the rightful acceptance of one’s personal strengths and weaknesses that genuine happiness can be achieved, a Catholic priest said. 

Msgr. Claro Matt Garcia, Vicar Forane of the Holy Spirit Vicariate in the Manila Archdiocese, urged the faithful to refrain from comparing themselves against others, noting that this act causes envy and pride to reign within their innermost selves. 

Pain comes from comparing what you have from what others have and not appreciating the little that you have received, Garcia said in his homily during the monthly Manila Archdiocesan General Pastoral Assembly (MAGPAS) held last September 7 at the Paco Catholic School. 

“When we begin to compare instead of thanking God for what He has given to us, (we tend to develop ill feelings toward others),” he added. 

Claro said it is through the rightful appreciation of blessings and acceptance of one’s shortcomings that individual insecurities may be defeated. 

“Accept the truth and it will change you…appreciation and thanking the Lord will be the best way. When we see the goodness in others, sometimes we can’t help but be envious but the important thing is for us not to feel hostile about it,” he added. 

The priest noted that weeding out selfishness from one’s character is also needed to fully appreciate the blessings acquired from the Divine. 

“When we learn to accept that others can be better than us, and we learn to praise God for whatever others have, God will be happy for us,” Garcia said. “The pain you feel inside will be healed and you will realize the fact that the grace of God is intended not only for you, but for everyone in this world.” 

Accepting with humility 

Garcia noted that during instances of comparison, people must not be annoyed for it is a great avenue for self-evaluation. 

“When people are comparing you with someone else, are you easily annoyed by it?…When you are being regarded as the benchmark, welcome that with humility for it is a compliment given unto you,” he said. 

“But when you are being compared with someone else because you are of less quality, imperfect, and with shortcomings, do not feel sad, do not feel angry. Instead, thank the person for his or her comment. Remember that everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion,” he added. 

“Ask perhaps what she or he thinks is lacking in you. With humility, you will discover more about yourself. You do not have to react when you are compared. You do not have to raise your voice, your fist, and much more you do not need to raise your blood pressure,” he added, eliciting laughter from the crowd. 

Following Christ’s example 

According to Garcia, insecurities arise from the expectation of people to hear only about the good things others can say about them, totally ignoring their flaws and imperfections. 

“We only want to hear what is good in us. We want to remain the best and get what is best,” he said. 

The priest urged the faithful to see Christ as an example on how to handle unpleasant criticisms. 

“We can truly learn from Jesus on how he handles himself in the midst of unfriendly attacks against Him and His words,” he said. 

“Jesus did not allow his emotions to overcome His reason in His mission. He did not react violently on such comparisons, He did not act uncharitably, He did not come immature,” he added. 

Instead of being affected by disparaging remarks, Garcia said it is important for people to welcome the ideas and comments of others as a chance to improve themselves. 

“(The remark) was never considered as a threat by the Lord to His person and his mission. And that was the truth about the matter—it was a plain, simple inquiry that needed to be answered,” Garcia noted. 

“You don’t need to get offended. Like Jesus, reason out in a very calm way,” he said, adding that people must learn to clarify miscommunications in a loving and understanding manner. (Jennifer Orillaza)