“Comparison is the thief of joy.” Know who said that? Theodore Roosevelt. What wise words, don't you think? I've heard it for years and have always struggled with comparing myself to other people, especially other women. But I really didn't have much of a clue on how to stop doing it, or even that I was really doing it. Last year I had a revelation about complaining, and how much of it I was doing, how it was hurting my marriage and robbing me of happiness. Little did I know that by conquering it with gratitude, I would go on a life-changing journey to make peace with myself and therefore, feel at peace with others.
Can You Relate?
Facebook. The ultimate pit of comparison and egos. But only if we allow it to be, as I was learning.
A friend, who's a mom of three, posts pictures of her amazing vacation to the Bahamas with her husband – standing on the beach with a bikini. And she looks HOT. First thought, “Awe, she makes me sick! I wish I could look that good! She probably eats whatever she wants and doesn't even go to the gym. No fair!”
Or a friend who used to be thin has now gained 30 lbs. and looks a lot different. Is your first thought, “Man, I am so glad I haven't gained weight like her! She needs to work out. At least I'm not as big as her.”
Or you know someone who's doing very well in business and they just moved to a coveted neighborhood with a dream house. Sigh. “Why isn't my husband making as much as him? We just work and work and can't ever seem to get ahead. It's not fair! They're probably fighting all the time anyway – he's probably cheating.” (Insert any other disparaging cut down there).
Or a friend posts pictures of her weekly workouts at CrossFit, and you think, “Well that's nice for her, but I can't ever get away and I can't afford to work out.”
Or during Spring Break you see pictures of family after family on vacation at the beach and your family couldn't get away because money is tight and your husband couldn't get off of work. “Ugh! EVERYONE is at the beach! So not fair!”
Did you notice how many items I or we is underlined above?
A few months ago, quite a few of my friends through Young Living Essential Oils were gearing up for an all-expense trip to Hawaii, yes, all expenses paid! They had earned it by reaching one of the highest ranks in the company, a rank I am working towards and dreaming about myself.
I found myself thinking that I did NOT want to be on Facebook for the week they would be there as the pictures would just make me so jealous and sick. Then it hit me. I was making it ALL ABOUT ME. I was letting my ego, my pride, get in the way of being truly, genuinely happy for these hard working friends who'd earned their way to Hawaii. All I could think about was myself and how I wasn't where I wanted to be yet.
Once I realized it was my pride in the way, I was freed! I then enjoyed, actually enjoyed, all of their pictures for the whole week. I felt genuinely happy for them and it was freedom!
Leggo my ‘Ego'
So, how did I get to the point where I could actually drop my pride?
Pride is a big concept – what does it even mean? I think many of us don't truly understand sometimes. In this situation, I was comparing their success to mine, their life to mine. It was ALL ABOUT ME. As my favorite business and life trainer Dani Johnson says, “YOU are not the issue.” It's so true, we try and relate to others by thinking of ourselves first. We think how we'd handle that situation, or how we'd feel, or what we'd do. I find myself doing it all the time when I'm having a conversation, but have finally gotten to the point where I know I'm doing it and can stop it and actually listen.
Can you imagine what genuine, heart-felt, intimate conversations we'd have with each other if while the other person is talking, we shut off our egos and think only about them and what they are saying? This is where real, satisfying relationships start.
First Steps to Success
I went to a life-changing event in January with said trainer, Dani Johnson – First Steps to Success. It rocked my world, turned my thinking upside down and wrong-side right. It was hard to understand at the time what all I got out of it until the gift of time started to pass and I noticed my eyes and heart were much more open – more clarity, understanding and emotional freedom.
Know Thyself – The Key that Unlocks it All
Part of her training is personality training. She teaches an entire morning on personalities (calls them Gems). I've been learning about personalities and have taken a TON of tests since I was in high school, so I didn't think there was much more I could learn about them, but I was so wrong!
I learned so much about myself and was able to actually appreciate my quirks and understand why I do the things I do. As a result, I was flooded with peace. Peace that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, that God knew what He was doing and while I don't use my personality as an excuse, I do use it to make sense of why I behave (and always have) the way I do.
I no longer felt like I should be behaving like someone else, that she or he is better than me. Should is a terrible word.
I began to notice that perhaps for the first time in my life (I'm 34), I was starting to be happy for other people. The comparison trap was no longer there – I am me, you are you, and I am happy for you.
The journey to healing really accelerated when I went to Dani's Creating a Dynasty event five months later, which one can only attend after they've gone to a First Steps to Success. I gained more knowledge and understanding, was able to forgive and let go even more, and found myself feeling truly, genuinely happy. Wow, what a gift!
I hope and pray you can also find this peace, this enlightenment, to truly love who you were created to be, so that you are then free to genuinely love others and be happy for them.