"Comparison is the thief of joy."
Have you seen this on Pinterest yet? Wait, you're not on Pinterest? Um, stop reading this right now and go sign up. Seriously. It'll suck the time out of your day like a ravenous black hole, but it's totally worth it. Or, you could spend that time doing something constructive like volunteering at a food pantry or reading your Bible or visiting lonely animals in a pet shelter. Whatever works for you.
Anyway, if you're not on Pinterest or you just haven't come across this quote yet, you're in luck because here it is:
"Comparison is the THIEF of JOY." (Thought you might need to hear that one more time. Because I did.)
I've noticed lately that I am a serial comparer. I don't mean to be. It just happens. And, I'm really, really good at it. I see something or someone and immediately I'm busy evaluating and ruminating and mulling and pondering and then I'm just hard core COMPARING before I even know what's happening.
Here's an example:
Scenario: I am in an unnamed coffeehouse where smalls are talls and I happen to be standing behind a woman who has obviously just completed a ten mile run and still looks pretty awesome in her spandex running capris, athletic top and flowing ponytail.
Thought Process: It smells like burnt coffee in here...Whoa...That woman is fit...Those pants are seriously tight...I bet she works out every day...AND I bet she drives an SUV with an "I heart running" sticker on the back...She just ordered a skinny latte with extra skinny...What?
Comparison: I have on three day old jeans...I haven't worked out in two years...My hair seems to be shorter on one side today...I haven't showered in 48 hours...What is that on my left shoulder?...Oh, right. Sam wiped his nose there...I wonder if anyone can tell that I'm wearing yesterday's make-up.
I leave the coffeehouse with a $3 latte and a major complex.
Comparison steals joy.
I spend the next few hours trying to redeem myself by showering and other such nonsense. And, unsurprisingly, I still feel less than.
I do this with all sorts of things. There are no limits to the spectrum of ways that I can compare myself. It's the opposite of awesome.
But, do you know what helps sometimes? If I'm thinking clearly and have maybe had a teensy bit of time with my Bible at some point during the last few days, I remember to remember a few things.
I remember to be thankful. For the man who married me and the crazy little person we get to raise together. For the cozy 956 square feet we share and the family that loves us and our little boy. For the job Matt has and the church we go to and the friends we've made. I remember to be thankful for what we have and for what we do not have and this helps me. It definitely does not mean that I don't struggle with comparing what I have and don't have with other people's haves and don't haves. But, it helps.
Another thing I remember is that my story is my story, which means that it isn't like any one else's. All the things I have and don't have fit into it in just the right ways and help make it mine. It helps me to remember this. This doesn't mean that seeing someone's Facebook status of "Just had our fourth baby, moved into our new mansion and on our way to Hawaii for some R&R" doesn't send me spiraling into a vortex of comparison as I start to think that maybe their story actually is better than mine. But, it's not. Because my story is my story, which means it's being written specifically for me. And that helps.
So, I'm reminding myself today, that being thankful and remembering that my story is good brings joy. Skinny lattes, shiny SUVs, houses with four car garages, and large bank accounts do not. Neither does comparison. In fact, it steals it.
Comparison is the thief of joy. Have I mentioned that already? I think it's time to kick it in the shins.