Comparison is the thief of joy.
How many times have you seen this quote pop up in your social feed? Probably a lot. So if we know this to be true? Why are we still finding it hard to stop?
Simple. And it’s not what you think.
A while ago I was talking with a friend of mine. We were on the topic of comparison. Seeing other friends or girls we knew who had ALL.THE.THINGS. Whether it was fancy purses, endless vacations, job promotions, or the ever so coveted Pinterest worthy home.
All of a sudden curiosity struck. So I asked her…
“What do you feel when you see someone have things you want?”
She replied how I think most of us would.
“I feel like I’m behind in life. Like I should be further along. I’m just as worthy as her, why don’t I have those things?”
But it wasn’t until what she said next that a lightbulb went off in my head.
“But then my husband tells me to remember I’m pouring money into my business and buying equipment rather than spending it on things like purses, shoes, houses, and cars.”
Okay, let’s pause here. Because I’m about to give us all a tough pill to swallow. So let me praise something first.
Girls – go get you a man that builds you up. Supports your dreams. Believes in you. Is proud of you. Just like my friend’s husband! The world needs more relationships like this.
Now with that said, let’s dig into the root of the comparison hamster wheel.
Did you see it?! The problem? If you didn’t, then let me phrase it in a way that is more clear.
Stop belittling someone else’s choices to make your choices seem better.
Let me say it a little louder in case that didn’t sink in.
STOP BELITTLING SOMEONE ELSES CHOICES TO MAKE YOUR CHOICES SEEM BETTER!
Y’all, OH MY HEAVENS. We are the problem. Do you see that? We are the ones who are feeding the comparison epidemic! I call it an epidemic because that is what it is. It’s a disease crippling us.
And how do you cure a disease? Well, if you are living inside a movie you find patient zero.
Guess who patient zero is? It’s you! It’s me. It’s us. It’s them. It’s everyone.
Comparison starts and ends with us. Only us.
Making someone else’s choices or successes seem inferior so that our choices can seem better is comparison. Why can’t Ashley be just as empowered driving her new fancy car as someone who is building an empire?
I get it. I’ve done it too. Guilty as charged. But we have to stop.
Damn straight be proud of your successes. They are yours to own. Be them easily obtained or hard. But also be proud of your sister down the street who made a choice that was successful defined in her terms. I know it may be tough ladies. Especially when she might have something you might want. But if we want to see a change in our world. Start with the women in the mirror.
Okay, so you looked in the mirror. Now what?
1. Celebrate Others.
View another woman’s success as motivation for what you want to achieve. If she did it, so can you! But it doesn’t have to look the same. But her success can be proof that you. Yes, you! Can have what you want to.
The same light you see in others is shining within you too.
Have you seen the commercial about hate liking someones vacation? It’s comical because it’s pretty accurate. But did you see how the advertisers shifted the narrative? They gave you a tool to go on trips like the ones you are ‘hate liking’ on Instagram.
Guess what? You have the same tool within you to change the narrative.
2. Seek clarity.
What do I mean by seeking clarity?
I went to a business conference where I asked a very important question. I know it was an important question because all the ladies in the arena were clapping and saying “amen”. So what did I ask this powerful billionaire on stage who was talking all about the hustle?
“How do I work smart and hard and not give my family leftovers?”
Okay, so you are probably asking yourself how does this question apply to comparison? Hang tight, I’m getting there.
After he paused, he proceeded to rattle off an answer that had every neuron in my head transmitting fireworks throughout my body.
“For my wife and me, it was easy. We decided not to have kids. So we were okay with working late hours until we built the kind of company we wanted. For you, you need to find what is at the top of your pyramid. How do you define success? If that is being a more present mother and wife, it’s okay that you don’t hustle all the time. Work in a way that gets you to what’s most important to you.”
The truth is folks. We compare our life’s successes to others. Not knowing how they define success. We compare our small businesses to billion dollar empires. We compare our road trips to luxury getaways. We compare our cute little cottage homes to mini-mansions. We compare our “prefer not to work out” tummies to “works out every day” abs of steel.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Decide what success looks like to you and live in a way that feeds it.
If my friends success is building a company, then compare her life to someones whose defines success in treating her self to some fine leather goods. She is basically comparing an apple to an orange.
Now, might she want those leather goods? Maybe. But that isn’t what defines her success. But it can be a by-factor of it.
Ready to win the battle against comparison?
One of my favorite quotes is by the sweetest Ruthie Lindsay. She says “If you see something beautiful in someone, speak it.”
I challenge you to do this. Find something beautiful in someone and speak it.
- Did Janet post a picture of her on vacation with her husband looking fierce? Speak it!
- Did Natalie post a picture of that amazing ring her husband got her as a push present? Speak it!
- Did Megan post a picture announcing her awesome new job promotion that comes with big perks? Speak it!
The more we start celebrating other peoples successes. The easier it is going to be to start celebrating ours.
Because you know who else has something beautiful in them? You. So speak that too!
- Did you pay off debt? Speak it!
- Did you invest in your business? Speak it!
- Do you get to hang out with your kid every day? Speak it!
- Did you drink all the champagne and take a fancy AF vacation? Speak it!
We are all successful. In our way. In our own time. In our terms.