Comparison is the Thief of Joy and Why YOU Need to Stop it
Are you the Queen of Comparison?
How many times have you looked at someone – a friend, neighbour, colleague, school mum, family member – and said to yourself “she’s got it all, she’s got it made, she’s got such a good life”? And then turned round and compared it to your own life?
We all do it, whether it’s because of what they share on Facebook, how they’re dressed, what house they live in, what car they drive or how their kids behave. We’re convinced we know what is happening in their lives and that it’s perfect.
But the worst thing then is that we compare our own life – which we know inside out and back to front – to this other “perfect” person’s life. This life of which we only know and see a snapshot (and usually the rose-tinted one that that person presents to the world).
Comparison is the Thief of Joy
Theodore Roosevelt was allegedly quoted as saying “Comparison is the thief of joy” and I’d say it’s far more true today, in our 21st century world, than it was in his.
We compare our jobs, parenting, homes, cars, outfits, body shape, hair and so much more to those of people we know in real life, as well as those we’re friends with online, and even worse, celebrities.
The media tells us we should be more like the aforementioned celebrities. Skinnier, prettier, richer, with glossier hair, more shiny objects and happier children.
We keep hearing that depression is on the rise and it’s not really surprising when we live our life in constant comparison.
Who has the Perfect Life anyway?
I know that a lot of people think I have some kind of perfect life. Whilst I am so very grateful for everything I have got, there have been some horrific times when I have felt so alone. Times when it felt like I was at the bottom of an abyss, trying to claw my way out.
You see when I am hurting, and when I’m at rock bottom, I don’t tell anyone. Not a soul. As things start to get better I will confide in one person. Then as everything is nearly all ok I will share with friends and family. And finally once it’s just an old scar I might share it here.
I realised this recently when I watched an interview that Marie Forleo did with Glennon Doyle Melton. Glennon talked about how she writes from her wounds and not from her scars. And it was a huge AHA moment for me, as I realised that I am absolutely incapable of writing from my wounds.
Our Scars mean we are Alive
You see when things are really shitty for me no one knows. There are things that I’ve been through that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. But it’s dangerous not to share the bad times, as then everyone walks around thinking they’re the only ones trying to deal with crappy stuff.
I completely open the door on all the shit stuff that I’ve kept hidden, and I share how I dealt with it to make it out the other side in my upcoming book.
We don’t share our scars and our wounds enough. We share our beautiful, happy, filtered photos on Facebook and Instagram and we don’t tell the world when we’re crying and dying inside.
I recently received Marie Forleo’s weekly email newsletter (you should totally get on her mailing list!), entitled “The Beauty of Scars” and it resonated so much.
She talks about how our scars give us strength and courage, and that all of us have scars but we are usually ashamed of them and try to cover them up. She ends her email by saying “Our scars are never ugly. Our scars mean we’re alive.”
That email stayed with me for a long time, and made me realise, we need to talk about our scars (or our wounds, like Glennon does, if we can).
A fellow blogger, Jenny, recently shared her own scars as she talked about her teenage daughter taking her own life for World Suicide Prevention Day. I can’t begin to imagine how hard that must have been to write, but I’m so glad she did as it is something that will help not only teenage children but their parents too.
Why YOU need to Stop the Comparison
Now I’m not saying only share the bad stuff and hide your good, happy times away. We all want to see smiles and sunshine, but we must stop falling into the comparison trap.
Just because someone looks outwardly happy doesn’t mean they are smiling on the inside.
I have friends who are beautiful, have great jobs, lovely houses, a husband and the perfect family, but who are falling apart on the inside due to infidelities, family illness, financial instability and worries over relationships with kids.
What you see on the outside is not necessarily what is happening on the inside. Remember the swan, who glides so gracefully across the top of the water, but who is paddling like a maniac below the surface.
You just don’t know what goes on behind closed doors (this is a big element of what I share in my book).
So stop the comparison today. Give gratitude for what you have in your life and take steps to improve the bits that don’t make you happy.
Over to you now – are you the Queen of Comparison? Do you find yourself wishing you had someone else’s life? Does time on social media make you feel low as you compare it to your own life? I would love to hear your experiences with comparison in the comments below. As this can be quite a sensitive subject do feel free to comment anonymously.
Finally, as ever, do share this on your social media channels to help all those struggling with comparison.
With much love,
This is so true! Social media creates a false perfection of everyone’s lives but we all do it – I never put photos of my kids (or husband!) driving me mad and me shouting like a crazy woman and yet it happens often (and vice versa!). I often remind myself that it’s false perfection by using exactly the same phrase as you “You never know what goes on behind closed doors” and thank goodness most people don’t see behind mine when I am the shouty crazy woman 😉 xx