Comparison: the thief of joy




  1. A consideration or estimate of the similarities or dissimilarities between two things or people.


If you have longstanding body image or self-esteem issues;

  1. The technique you use to reiterate to yourself every day that because you are you, because your legs aren’t as skinny as that girl that you just walked past, you don’t have as many university degrees as your colleague, you haven’t won as many awards as your sibling, you don’t make as much money as your friends, somehow, that makes you inferior. That makes you not enough. That makes you fat. That makes you worthless. That makes you [INSERT UNHELPFUL, IRRATIONAL, ABUSIVE THOUGHT ABOVE SELF HERE.]

Why do we compare ourselves?

To our friends. Our colleagues. Our siblings. Our parents. Our lover’s past lovers.

What can it possibly achieve for us?

How can we truly compare two people – two people who are unique individuals, unlike any others on the planet?

Why do we subject ourselves to the torture of internally scrutinizing ourselves, based on what we see others doing, having, saying, wearing, eating, playing, buying, etc….

WHY? When these comparisons are 100% unsupported.

How do we know that the pretty girl who wears size 6 shorts is happy? How do we know the man making a 6-figure salary is happy? How do we know the athlete with 5 gold medals is happy? How do we know the person who works out at the gym and eats 3 clean meals a day is happy?

They may hide behind social media accounts that show happiness, health, wealth, success, big smiles, tiny waists, expensive holidays, luxury homes and cars – but who would want to look through their Instagram feed if they documented the bad things that happened? The things that smash the illusion of their perfect lives.

But the truth is, we don’t know if these superficial things that we compare ourselves to and beat ourselves up for not having, are actually bringing joy and content to their lives.

And we never can know.

Our assumptions about others are completely groundless.

We have nothing to prove that being skinny like that girl, making lots of money like that man, or winning all the awards will give us the happiness that we are really seeking.

And I have no shame in saying this; I am a comparer. I’m trying not to be. I try not to put myself down based on the attributes and values of others that may not be the same as mine. But the reality is that I fall victim to this every day.

And I’m positive so many more of you do.

My message for today is to remember this:

The next time you compare yourself to someone else – take a moment to think, “is their life really being improved by having [INSERT SUPPOSEDLY ENVIABLE CHARACTERISTIC]? Would my life be better if I had that?”

You’ll find for the most part the answer to both is no. Especially to the latter question; because you are an entirely different person, with different needs, different values, different qualities, different aspirations.

Different is good. Remember that. If we were all the same, how boring would the world be?

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