Nothing brings me greater joy than my two sons. They are desperately, passionately obsessed with living life to the max. I know not every single child is this way, but both of my boys are intense. And when I watch them play, or interact, when I see them show off a skill or do something I perceive as kind or cute, I am filled with joy and pride. That is my right as their mom to feel that way, that is the right of every mother, I hope every mom feels like their child is a prodigy because you should be filled with wonder as you discover things through their eyes.

but nothing can steal my joy faster than comparison

Comparison is the thief of joy. – Theodore Roosevelt

My family recently went to a children’s museum, and when I looked around and compared my kids to others, I quickly find myself wondering how they measured up. 

One little boy had on the cutest, trendiest outfit.

Compare.

Two little brothers had perfectly manicured hair.

Compare

One little girl was delicately helping out her sibling. No fights in sight.

Compare

One mom had created a little learning scavenger hunt for her kids to find things.

Compare

Instead of experiencing my kid’s wonder and joy, I was left feeling dissatisfied, wondering if I needed to something more.

our whole culture is based on comparison

Situational comparison makes us feel better or worse about ourselves, but comparison is a prison that has no key. You might not be a parent, but that doesn’t mean you’re not comparing…

Am I a good enough student?

My house doesn’t look anywhere near as good as theirs.

They always have new stuff, how do they afford that?

That guy is so jacked, when does he have time to workout?

I should have gone to college and then I could have had that job.

That girl is so pretty and put together… I’ll never be able to look like that.

I wish that you would never compare yourself or your life to anyone or anything again, but I know that’s not the case when comparison is the currency that so many people live by, what can you do?

instead of comparing yourself to others, you can compare yourself to yourself

Of course, you can look at Pinterest and pine after things all day long. You can look at other people’s polished online lives and want what they have, but the only life that matters is yours. What standards have you set for yourself? Have you set standards for your education or health or spirituality or relationships? Then start there. If you’re in college, did you actually make it to all your classes this week? Did you perform better this semester than you did last? If you’re a mom, did you have more patience today than you did yesterday? Or did you just have more patience in the last hour than in the previous one? If you struggle with your weight, did you make better food choices at lunch than breakfast.

If you’re bound to compare, then compare you to you, so that you can be the best version of who you were created to be. Comparison is the thief of joy, but being the most true version of yourself is the antidote. Being the person you were created to be brings joy. Know that your life has purpose and value beyond things (beyond looking good and having nice stuff, beyond name brand purses, and perfect houses or chiseled muscles). You were created to do good works. So do them, and don’t compare yourself to anyone else along the way.

Published in life lessons
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