The other day I heard something super enlightening on one of my favorite podcasts. The concept of comparison came up on this podcast, I think it was The Lady Gang, and how easy it is to look at someone and think they “have it all” or that their life must be so perfect, so great.
And then one of them said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
Wow, something so simple, yet so profound. And it really got me thinking about how I’ve fallen into the comparison trap in my life and how I want to release myself of these thoughts.
Of course high school is one of the biggest times for comparing and judging other people. All roads lead back to high school, don’t they? I would see that popular girl getting all the attention from the guy I sorta liked and think, “What does she have that I don’t have?” Or I’d look at someone else’s test results and wonder why I didn’t get as high of a grade as so in so. This was just the beginning of the comparison trap closing in my leg like a bear in the woods. Like that bear in Fox and the Hound.
And then in college, I got out of the trap a little bit but then fell back when it was time to get a “real” job. I started to compare my resume with the resume of friends, even strangers, and hope I was good enough to even land an interview.
After graduation, the real comparison trap opened. Here’s where I started to really get that trap pushing and pushing deeper into my leg. I would compare my engagement ring (which is beautiful and I love it) to other people’s. I would wonder why I had an apartment while other people were buying houses. Whenever I attended a wedding, I would compare my own to the current one. I’ve compared where I am in my career with my college and high school friends. I’ve compared my vacations with vacations from other bloggers or Instagrammers and thought, “Why didn’t we go to that place?” or “Why did their picture get more likes than mine?” I’ve looked at stay at home mom’s going out all day with their kids, wearing the most fashion-forward, expensive clothes and going on amazing vacations and wonder how in the world does she have all that money to do all of that. Why don’t I have that?
As I type this, it sounds so silly, so immature. Yet, it is human nature. And thanks to social media, people can portray only the best parts of their daily life. I’m definitely guilty of that. Comparison is part of the human race and is natural, but a waste of time.
After hearing the simple phrase, Comparison is the thief of joy, I’ve started to stop myself from thinking these thoughts. I don’t allow myself to compare my German skills with someone else’s because she most likely studies a lot, has lived in Germany longer and has a German-born husband. I’ve realized that you never know what’s happening behind closed doors and what people portray isn’t always reality. The girl with the great purse could be in massive credit card debt because of it. And the flip side, the girl with the okay purse probably has a lot more moolah in her savings account than I do. The point is, I have no idea what is going on with anyone else, so why waste my energy on it?! I found myself not feeling happy because my life didn’t match other people’s who I thought had a better life. Comparison is the thief of joy.
Moving forward, I want to stay in my lane. I can only worry about how I’m doing in life and hope that today is better than the day before. Easily, I could be comparing my beginning to someone else’s middle and wondering why I’m not there, too. My life is pretty darn fantastic and I want to put all my energy into making it the best life I possibly can for me, my husband, my dog and my family. People are different, different strokes for different folks.
So, next time I feel myself comparing my life to anyone else’s, I’m going to think, Comparison is the thief of joy, and remember how great I have it!! I hope you do the same.
Have you ever fallen into a comparison trap?