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Comparison is the Thief of Joy

Written by: Cally Short, M.S.
Comparison is the Thief of Joy

“Comparison is the Thief of Joy”
– Theodore Roosevelt

This is one of my favorite quotes by Theodore Roosevelt. Over the past year, 2020 brought us many unprecedented challenges and hardships that were impossible to prepare for. Having no reference point for surviving a pandemic leaves us feeling as if we are flying by the seat of our pants for an extended period of time. The majority of us have suffered many losses, in one form or another, over the last year. The year 2020 is behind us and we are welcoming 2021 with hopeful hearts and open arms, but let’s pause for a moment and reset.

Comparing ourselves and our accomplishments to the achievements and successes of those around us is an easy habit to fall into – especially in the world of social media, hashtags, and “end of the year recaps” that inevitably cycle through social media platforms at the end of each year. We look around and see others thriving, posting happy photos, and discussing the positives that have come from a trying year. Just like that – the wind in our sails is gone. Stolen. Comparison, yet again, has taken our joy. So, in 2021 I invite all of you to join me in changing this mind-trap.

Knowing your triggers and when and how to avoid them is key in taking care of your mental and emotional health. Self-care often takes the form of eliminating stressors and cleansing your mental space. Reminding yourself that glimpses into the lives of others are simply that: glimpses. These snapshots are often not representative of the bigger picture in someone’s life, the same way they would not be representative of your overall journey. We often take the parts of ourselves that we feel insecure about, and compare them to the parts of others that seem to shine brightly. Not only is this inaccurate, but it’s also unproductive and unhealthy. Lastly, make space for gratefulness. Gratitude goes a long way in changing mindset! Taking a moment to pause and reflect on things we are grateful for helps us to de-clutter our thoughts of comparison. Taking care of yourself in the middle of a pandemic is a huge win -not a win comparatively, not a win for the circumstances-just a win!