Comparing, Competing, and Being Content

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(This is an excerpt from the book I Hope You Know How Much I Love You: And Other Advice for a Happier Life.)

Some of the greatest life lessons I know have come from the women in my life. And I am sure it is the same for many of you. The women who have been there for us, supported us, and buoyed us up know about life and its hardships and how we can make it through with graciousness and hope.

I remember hearing President Hinckley’s daughters talk about their mother at a women’s event I attended. When they showed Marjorie Pay Hinckley’s photo on the screen, we could all see a life of goodness reflected in her countenance. We could see the wisdom of years written in her face, along with a twinkle in her eye that revealed her delightful sense of humor. She spoke to women as only another woman could, and her words were backed by experience and endorsed with testimony. She said:

We women have a lot to learn about simplifying our lives. We have to decide what is important and then move along at a pace that is comfortable for us. We have to develop the maturity to stop trying to prove something. We have to learn to be content with what we are. —Marjorie Pay Hinckley

Contentment is a difficult commodity to obtain in a world that is busily trying to convince us that we must have it all, we must have it all of the time, and we must look gorgeous, sophisticated, and brilliant while having it. You can jump on that treadmill if you want, but you’ll never be able to keep pace with the mythical image of the superwoman the advertising agencies have created. Instead, within the gospel, we are counseled to focus on finding contentment. The Apostle Paul shared what he had discovered in these words: “For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Philippians 4:11).

Being content allows you to be yourself. It means you can stop comparing and competing with the other people around you. I’m convinced that contentment is a spiritual gift, while competition is a manmade distraction from what is really important.

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