Comparison Is The Thief Of Joy

Comparison Is The Thief Of Joy

Comparison Is The Thief Of Joy

In this week’s Success Newsletter, Comparison Is The Thief Of Joy

First a quick update:

“Can women have it all?”
Jada Pinkett Smith says women can have it all. Here are the reasons that that belief is not only false – it is counterproductive and destructive to women to preach that belief.:

Follow me on Twitter – You can now choose to follow me and receive a few words of wisdom on Twitter: @Behavior_Expert

“Women – please love your body – for our sake! ”
Did you know women judge their bodies more harshly than men judge women’s bodies? When a woman hates her body, she hates herself and it becomes impossible to love someone who hates herself. How can a man express love to a woman who says “I’m not lovable”? Watch the video:

Now, let’s talk about why comparison is the thief of joy.

It’s a quote that has been attributed to Theodore Roosevelt, although there exists little evidence to support that claim. Nonetheless, the same thing has been said centuries before – comparison is odious – when we compare, the result is repulsive and it robs us of our own joy.

What does it mean to compare and why do we do it?

To compare means to estimate or measure the similarities and dissimilarities between something or someone. In other words, comparison refers to measuring what other people have, are doing or are and then determining if we measure up to the same. Thus we are constantly measuring ourselves against other people: do we measure up? Are we good enough?

This is the negative aspect of comparison – we create a checklist and then we conclude that the other person is better than us because of something they are, something they do or something they have. We then become miserable, angry, envious, insecure, resentful, bitter, despondent, depressed, sad, self-loathing, etc. because we believe that there is something missing in us and something missing in our lives; we believe that we are incomplete and then we become insatiably thirsty or hungry for something, and then that something in turn, controls us.

Why do we engage in this self-destructive behavior?

As children we measure our development, progress, achievements and worth by noting what our parents and peers tell us and reflect to us. It is natural that as we strive to develop our identity (that which separates us, distinguishes us and makes us special, unique and valuable) we look to others to see what they are doing, how they are doing it and how well they are doing it. “It” refers not just to ‘doing’ but also ‘being’ and ‘having’ (possessing.)

We begin to compare ourselves with the intention of determining who we are. However, children also use that as a weapon against each other – bullying each other. Just this week, another new client was suffering from consequences of childhood bullying – the other girls bullied her (criticized, mocked and teased her) because they were actually jealous of her gifts, talents and abilities.

In other words, they compared themselves to her and when realizing that she was beautiful, smart, intelligent and popular, they felt miserable and so they deliberately cut her down. In response, she was comparing herself to them – their tribal bonds and outer boasting and she became desperate to be like them and to get their approval. Comparison is the thief of joy!

As adults, we continue what we started in childhood – comparing ourselves to others and determining our value and self-worth based on those measurements of similarity and dissimilarity.

However, in adulthood, it is worse because we have societal expectations which encourage us to compare ourselves to stylized ideals and we have advertising and the media promoting constant consumption and ideals as well as encouraging us to compare ourselves to the rich and famous.

“Too many people are buying things they can’t afford, with money that they don’t have… to impress people that they don’t like!” – Will Smith

Women are constantly comparing and competing with other women – beauty, youth, power, attention, career, independence, joy, freedom, family, motherhood, travel, riches, glamour, wealth, fashion and collective possessions.

“And all the girls walk by
Dressed up for each other
And the boys do the boogie-woogie
On the corner of the street”
– Van Morrison from the song “Wild Night” (1971)

There are 3 key antidotes to the misery suffered when constantly comparing oneself to others:

1. There will always be someone else who is better at something than you; there will always be someone who is more beautiful, handsome or popular than you; there will always be someone who is richer or wealthier than you – who has a bigger yacht, house or company. And even if you, right now, are that one person who is the best in the world, that too, will change – it is ephemeral.

2. What you see isn’t always the full truth. We see rich, famous, beautiful people and conclude that they are happy or, that if we had what they have, we would be happy! False. If those 3 ingredients were the recipes to joy, then those people who are rich, famous and beautiful would be happy. Only, when we dig deeper, do we see the full truth. They too, experience all of life’s struggles and emotions; they too, experience loss, disappointment, sickness and death. How many people rallied behind Charlie Sheen when he was screaming “Winner” and “Winning” only to learn the full truth 4 years later, that he was screaming winning because he was trying to deny and conquer HIV!

“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” – Steve Furtick

3. You might never have the world, but you can have joy and happiness right now by expressing gratitude for everything and everyone in your life! Be thankful for what you have, who you are and what you are doing. And if you are not fully where you want to be (health, wealth, career or love) put love and passion into achieving your goals and dreams – don’t infect them with jealousy, envy or bitterness. People will respond to what you present, give and demonstrate.

Do your best and live according to your own values!

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist

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