The Thief of Joy: Comparison

Every year I write a birthday post reflecting on something I’ve learned in the past year about myself (and thoughts about getting older). It’s a great way to see where I’ve been, who I am today, and hopefully reflects the person I am working towards becoming.  


This one’s for you. Who? You.

It’s also for me. I’m writing this post for myself. I’m hoping that when I’m 66 and maybe 99, I’ll somehow come back to this post and remember the greatest lesson I’ve learned so far this past year:

Comparison is the thief of joy.
– Theodore Rosevelt

As many of you know, I often talk about my insecurities and how I’ve struggled with being overly self-conscious. I’m thankful that I feel I’ve been given a gift to see life from a big-picture perspective. I see and live life in the extreme ends of things, and I fight extremely hard to balance these things in order to be what I can only describe as healthy. Though I’m aware of my natural gifts and strengths, it also means I am very aware of my short-comings. Add in societal pressures and definitions we’ve placed on people regarding success, beauty, and value, and suddenly I feel lacking. I feel this way because it seems that many things in our world today exist to try and convince us that these so-called distinctions and definitions of worth are actually a real thing.

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It leaves people feeling inadequate, hopeless, and helpless. I’ve felt this way. Here are some of the things I’ve said and believed of myself:

  • You are not good-looking enough
  • You are not athletic
  • You are not as creative and artistic as them
  • You are not smart enough
  • You don’t make enough money
  • You are not successful
  • You have not done anything amazing or worthy of recognition
  • You’ll never be as good as them
  • You will never find love

I was never enough.

It seemed like these statements were true. I let them control my life. It was easy because I had so many examples around me where I could find millions of reasons to support them (thanks Facebook and Instagram). I look at other peoples’ lives and compare mine to theirs, and I wonder if I was given the short side of the stick. Did God make a mistake when he made me? Why wasn’t I given someone else’s life. Aren’t people better than me?

“Comparison is the thief of joy.”

My wiser and better half introduced this quote to me and these words have become a powerful truth in my life that has helped me see the world from a different perspective. There is only one of me. There is no comparison.

I am more than enough.

DSC05951I’m reminded that, in this world, we place value on things that are rare and highly desired. It’s the law of supply and demand. Check out this sad link of 25 items of supposed (stupid) value. What’s strange is how little we value life, especially because there is only one of you. One.

To be more exact (at this point in our world): one in 7.125 billion people. And that’s just the people currently alive today, not taking into consideration all that have come before us and all that will live after we pass.

You have a better chance of picking the winning powerball lottery numbers than finding another you. No other person in this world has the unique qualities that you have. Yet do we value each of our lives as this incredible, rare gift? I confess I haven’t.

Thankfully as I’ve gotten older, the more and more I realize how special the gift of life truly is. More importantly, I’ve come to love and accept myself. I still compare myself to others, but not as much. If anything, I’m more aware of an innate responsibility and longing I have to be the best version of myself possible. Because again, I have no one else to compare to. I’ve learned to live life with intentionality, to write my own story and I delight in knowing it’s my own life to live.

I guess I wanted to say is that you are enough.

You are worthy.

You have no need to compare yourself to anyone.

There is no one like you.

Continue to live with joy (jump as long as you can – #jumpingjedd).

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