You’ve probably heard the saying, “Comparison is the thief of joy,” by former President Theodore Roosevelt. I know, for me, the first time I read it (on a Pinterest board, no doubt), the quote’s weight and truth immediately struck me.
There is no easier way to kill your joy than by comparing yourself to another. This is a sure-fire way to welcome anxiety and feelings of inadequacy into your life—yet we all do it.
Even in the midst of writing this, I fell into the comparison trap. I stumbled down a dangerous path, comparing myself to others on Instagram and to “untouched” models while online shopping.
Luckily, because this was on my mind, I caught myself and switched gears. Here’s the thing to remember when you fall into the comparison trap: the grass is always greener. Whoever you find yourself “stacking up” against, please remember that, yes, they may have some qualities that you lack, but the same can be said in reverse.
Perhaps you’re jealous of someone’s ability to be outgoing. I was never that girl who was able to make friends with ease or talk to any guy she wanted. I envied those who had that ability during my school years. But that outgoing girl has her own set of insecurities and things she wishes she could change about herself. You have your own talent, skill, or personality trait that she does not.
Your comparison trap could be body image or lifestyle related—God knows there are quite enough “lifestyle” Instagram accounts out there to envy. Social media has opened up a whole new set of anxieties for our generation. Deep down, we all know and recognize that social media profiles are just highlight reels of our friends’ and family’s lives.
Maybe you think someone else’s highlights are better than yours. Maybe you’re envious of someone who travels a lot or seems to always be on an adventure. Maybe you’re envious of someone who has had more career success. Maybe you’re envious of someone’s relationship. We all have those feelings—those sensitive areas where we wish we could improve.
Regardless of your particular desire, when you experience these feelings of comparison, take a moment to think of three things that you have in your life that the “comparable” person may not.
You’re not doing this so that you can feel superior to that person but, instead, as a reminder that nobody’s life is perfect. Nobody is a perfect collection of personality traits, looks, talents, or success. You may envy them, but I guarantee you they envy someone, too. It might even be you.
Friends, if there is something you’re envious of that is attainable, then I encourage you to make a plan to reach that goal. If it’s something that’s not attainable, I ask you to search your heart for what you should be working toward instead. Don’t let jealousy distract you from your own talents and awaiting successes.
Keep your joy; say sayonara to comparing yourself to others. You’re incomparable, after all.