Ohhhh I am so annoyed that I have succumbed to this. I thought I was stronger, that it wouldn’t get in my head. That it didn’t matter to me. But it has. It does. Despite me knowing that comparison is the thief of joy, I’v fallen into the comparison trap….
Its cuppa and a chat time you lovely lot, grab your brew.
Comparison is the thief of joy – So why do we do it!
Comparison. Why do we do it? Do you do it? Why is it that even the strongest, most self assured people can still fall prey to the comparison game? I consider myself to be a pretty strong character, yet lately, have occasionally found myself questioning my direction, feeling a little inadequate, not good enough. I think a few things have contributed to this, so as ever, I wanted to discuss it!
I think, when we are younger, its natural and almost part of the right of passage, to compare ourselves to our friends or peers. We look at their gorgeous shining mane of glossy hair and wonder why our frizzy curls don’t look like that. We see their slim and trim figures and wish we could walk past the bakers instead of going in. We admire how they just seem to throw clothes on and look stylish, put together, yet we have bag lady chic going on. You get the picture. I think everyone did it as youngsters, but as we mature and grow into ourselves and realise what the important things in life are, that eases.
The Thief of Joy
So why is it now, as adults, so many of us have reverted back to those feelings? Why are we allowing it to be the thief of joy? I have seen it on my social media feed, spoken about it with my friends, so many of us seem to get those negative feelings of comparing ourselves to others. I wonder if, in part, its what we were taking about in the last Cuppa and a Chat post, (Is Social Media The new Validation tool), and I think in my case, it could well be, but I think it can also come down to how we feel about ourselves too. I think with me, its maybe a flaw that I have, hidden deep within my heart. I think how high or low our confidence is at the time plays a part. I also think as well, there are so many areas that we can can compare ourselves in, and with the world wide web now, so many millions of people we can compare ourselves too!
With me, I am confident in some areas, but incredibly lacking in confidence in others. For example, I know that I always try to be a good, supportive friend, I know I always try to be a good Mum, I know I try to be a good person and never deliberately hurt someone, and in the most part, I think I succeed in those areas.
Where my confidence can plummet is in my own self confidence. Like so many of us, I have taken a few hard knocks in life, been badly let down by people I trusted, and those things have left scars, so it could be the impact of those. I have also gained weight over the last few years (Iv spoken about this before) so I know that has an affect on my confidence. There are probably so many reasons that I lack in self confidence, but most of the time, I can control it and not let the feelings of self doubt affect my life or be the thief of my joy. I try to “have a word” with myself and get on with it.
Until I have a low day, and the comparison game kicks in. Its a nasty, cruel game, and the only loser is us, the comparee (is that even a word, I think I have made it up)
Lets look at some of the reasons why its so negative to compare ourselves to others;
Its always, without a doubt, an unfair comparison. We look at what we view as the best traits in someone, and compare them to what we see as our worst.
Like the famous quote says, comparison id the thief of joy. When on the comparison train, we tend to ignore all what we have achieved, and only think of what we have not.
Comparing ourselves to someone else is like comparing fingerprints. No two are the same, so the comparison is always jaded. It stops us embracing our unique-ness. (again, another made up word??)
You will always find something, or someone to compare yourself with. Even if you achieve what you thought you wanted, the habit is so strong that you move on to the next comparison. In some part, this can be because we are so critical of ourselves. Again, I have spoken about this in the post My addiction to being more.
Comparison means that we are focusing on how we perceive someones else’s life to be, instead of just living and enjoying ours. It can also often mean, we are making up a version of reality that is not real. We convince ourselves that how we see ourself, is how everyone else see’s us. Then, we compare that false version of our life and ourself, to others. It is a lose-lose situation!
Comparison can make us feel an unfair and unjust resentment towards other people, (its not their fault we compare ourselves, is it) . I think that is one of the most destructive parts of the compare game. It can even make us dislike, or form an opinion of those that we are comparing ourself too. You see, comparison is the thief of joy in so many ways!
I am sure there are many other negative aspects, but these are the ones that come straight to mind. Its a crappy ole journey to take part in isn’t it! So how do we stop ourselves climbing on board?
How do we stop comparison being the thief of joy?
Work on ourselves – This is without doubt, the only way we can stop. It has to come from within. Iv done so much soul work over the years, Im surprised that Im feeling these feelings. It has confused me. Self-doubt is a bar****d. Im actually re-reading the Sarah Knight book, The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k to bang the point home what not to worry about. I read it when it came out a couple of years ago, Id recommend it, its a good-un.
Lets take something I am passionate about, writing, as an example for a moment. When I am having good days, I can tell myself that my writing is always going to be my writing, because although the topics I cover could have been covered a gazillion times, my own experiences, my own take on it, they are unique to me, so my voice is going to be my voice. Does that make sense?
On my bad days, I read what I have written and think its boring or too personal, or not personal enough. I feel I am not educated enough, or that I don’t use the correct writing structure. I worry that I write too many “think pieces” and not enough light hearted things like reviews. I cannot tell you the amount of posts I have binned with this thinking. I beat myself up over not having enough followers on my blog, when Patricia Perfect (made up name, obviously) has thousands on hers and posts very different content. My content subjects must be crap and Patricia’s amazing.
Am I making and kind of sense at all. I feel like Im rambling on?
What should I, (and we if you are also a comparer) be doing when I get my Wendy Worry-Head on? (Wendy is well posh, she has a double barrelled name don’t cha know)
What I should be doing is focusing on what I have already achieved in my 18 months of blogging (or life in general). I should focus on the joy and release it gives me to write, no matter who reads it. I should remember that Patricia isn’t so perfect, because, lets face it, no bugger is perfect!
I should walk away from the computer or situation in general, if I find those niggles creeping in. Grab my dog, take her up the woods, clear my head.
I should remember to be kinder to myself. I should remind myself that despite my many, many perceived flaws, I am kind, I have a good heart, I would give you my last penny if you needed it, and I love people I love with a strength and loyalty that scares even me. I should tell myself that no, Im not beautiful, but I have eyes that betray every emotion I feel, and I like that about myself.
The comparison game is a cruel mistress, that leads to nothing positive. Comparison is the thief of happiness. It is the thief of joy. Those of us that succumb to it need to remember, that we are enough!
So, apologies for another long one, it just all comes out once I get going! Its now over to you. Do you get on the comparison train? Do you find yourself feeling bad about yourself at times? How do you stop yourself doing it? As always, tell me your thoughts xx