Comparison is the Thief of Joy


I care pretty deeply about how people feel. This might sound noble, but it isn’t always a good thing. It is both my virtue and my vice. When someone is sad or angry or hurt or has an issue with me, I want so badly to resolve it that sometimes I don’t let the situation breathe.

You could ask my husband. He is someone who needs a little space to think things through, especially if we have had a serious discussion or an argument. I, on the other hand, have to actively stop my impulse to sit near him and ask how and/or when we can figure it out. I’m learning and getting better at that though.


I also have to stop myself from comparing myself to others. I want to be the best version of myself and, somehow, this can go awry very quickly. I can think about what I am not rather than focus on how I am doing. Sometimes, this makes me feel depressed and whatever amount of self-compassion I possess (and have desperately worked to cultivate) goes right out the window. This leaves me often blaming myself for things (both situations and perceived shortcomings) that realistically have nothing to do with me. I’m working on this too.

Side note: How do we take responsibility for ourselves but not blame ourselves unjustly? Because not everything is one’s fault, but obviously sometimes a situation is your fault… Maybe knowing the difference is half the battle.The questions of adulthood…

In any event, I have been thinking a lot about the true fact that comparing oneself to others mostly just steals your own joy. Your thighs might not be as toned as hers, you might not be as strong as him, you might not outwardly seem as happy as someone else, but focusing on those people and drawing comparisons negates (at least in your own mind) what you are. It also puts the other person in a weird situation.

Your legs get you from point A to point B. You are strong. You are where you need to be. And if you aren’t, isn’t your energy better used getting yourself to a happier place? (You know what they say… your dreams don’t work unless you do.) That someone else is beautiful or has a lot of friends or has 6 pack abs or is friendly and happy says nothing about you. Nothing. Yet we make ourselves miserable by drawing comparisons where there need not be any. Don’t we have enough to deal with without allowing ourselves to go too far down the rabbit hole of comparison?

To have a more abundant life, I’m working hard on changing my mindset. I encourage you to have a think about the comparisons you draw between yourself and people in your life (or even people on the street, in magazines, on the subway, at Subway…wherever).

I will leave you with these quotes I have been pondering lately:

“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”

  • Ernest Hemingway


“I am not interested in competing with anyone. I hope we all make it.”

  • Erica Cook

We all have a unique set of challenges in this life. The truth we have in common is that we all need to respect ourselves and others. We need to be kind to ourselves, to the other humans we share the world with, and stop it with the comparisons.

I hope we all make it. I really do.


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