Pieces of Me

Comparison is the Thief of Joy

Standing at my kitchen sink, I washed the one dish ten times over. Yet, the pile of dirty breakfast dishes remained untouched. I stood there, hands immersed in the lukewarm, soapy water, turning the sponge on the now spotless plate. With the sound of cartoon shows blaring and two little boys fighting over which channel to watch, my mind shut out the noise and with clarity all I could hear was “you are not good enough.”

It is the same mantra, repeating itself over.

I get the thrill and exhilaration of thinking of a new blog post idea, only to dismiss it immediately, once I have read two or three blog posts from other writers that are so much better than my little idea.

I lie awake at night with excitement redesigning my blog, changing fonts and colours in my head, only to have that excitement fizzle the moment I see a new blog redesigned and looking so much better than mine ever will.

I plan and organise elaborate birthday parties for my boys, only to feel inferior the moment I open Pinterest and my screen is a cascade of pin after pin of picture perfect birthday parties.

Ideas for novels, deflated before they even have air. Plans to start exercising and eating better, traded in for feelings of remorse before I even slide into my trainers. There are so many moments of possibility which are quenched by the simple act of comparison.

Comparison is the Thief of Joy

At a conference recently, an opening slide went up “comparison is the thief of joy” and in that instance it became the antidote to the manic, negative voice from within.

I spend all day, whether it be conscious or not, comparing myself. Comparing my own life to Facebook updates, tweets, instagrams with no filter, glossy magazines and books lined up in bookstores. I even compare myself to the lady walking down the street.

It has to stop.

I am certain that Spiderman never hung his head in shame, that Batman had a sidekick and he didn’t. Snow White never felt inferior that she was a brunette and all the other princesses were blondes.

Comparing myself to others is like being in a constant state of facing backwards and yet, trying to walk forward. The key is to turn around, stand up straight, shoulders back, take a deep breath and always stride forward.

Comparison is the Thief of Joy

I will write the blog post.

I will write the novel.

I will wear the dress.

I am going to go for that run.

When I constantly compare myself to others, I am only dragging myself down. There are no goal posts. No finish line. There will be no medal ceremony at the end.

Life, blogging, writing these are all dynamic and fluid. We each have our own creativity and our own individual perspective. I need to start having more respect for mine.

 Is comparison the thief of your joy?

 

  • LydiaCLee

    Ha! The funny thing is, a lot of us thing you are a better wordsmith than ourselves! And fyi,, Spiderman was a bucket of angst, that’s what made him interesting…
    And, clever lady, Overland is taking submissions for the next contest, so get writing. Then we’ll compare….;)

  • Pip (@melbournelass)

    Well if it makes any difference I’ve been refreshing my pc and checking back ever since your washing post just WAITING for your next blog post. Josefa it is the biggest thief for me as well. Even though I’m so acutely aware of my BAD HABIT of comparison every single day of my life it reoccurs. It’s almost been easier to acknowledge I do it and will continue to do it and just to think I’m different. My writing is different, my life is different, my personality is different – you can only compare apples with apples – and I’m most certainly an orange 🙂 not sure if this makes any sense at all. Of course I compare and feel like you but I’m ever so slowly starting to see the others I used to see as ‘better’ as just different. You’re unique my friend – in every sense of the word – you’re most certainly different and I could never compare. x

  • Kathy www.yinyangmother.com

    Ah Yes comparison – I know that judgemental bitch well! The scary thing is how it extends beyond finding ourselves wanting all the time in comparison to others, to finding things wrong with others to make ourselves feel better (well I do this). Funny how I posted about compassion today – I reckon it’s the antidote we need for ourselves, each other and society at large.

  • bodyandfeetretreat

    What a great post and what a fantastic realisation. Thank you for sharing it with us because I think there are many of us who can relate to this – I certainly can although I have never tried to verablise it. You have done a great job of that – thank you !!!
    Have the best day and take care – you are an amazing lady who has fantastic posts – don’t change what you have been doing because I love it !
    Me

  • It used to be, and I guess sometimes it still is and I would assume it is for most of us – human nature. I just tend to do it. Get on out there and do it. Fear used to hold me back but I read a little quote the other day that really resonated with me “Go ahead, judge me. Just remember to be perfect for the rest of your life.”

    As for your writing Josefa, never doubt yourself, you have immense talent and heart. x

  • Michaela Fox

    LOVE this post Josefa and, as you can see, many of us can relate to your experiences. The inner critic is a nasty beast, but you can keep it at bay – it just takes practice. I think you are a brilliant writer and I would love to see more of those insomnia-induced blog ideas transpire. I, too, lay awake at night thinking my next idea is going to be a winner…. only to second guess myself the next day! 🙂

  • Comparison definitely is my thief of joy. Like you, I do it all day long, day in and day out. Last night I went to Zumba to get some exercise and danced my bloody pants off trying to be as good as everyone else in the class. Why? Why Renee? It’s just a bit of fun. When I got home I said to Dave that I’m not as good as some of the others, but really who cares. These constant comparisons are exhausting. It is a bad habit that will be hard to stop though. What I find helps is to have a list of mantras or intentions around the house to keep me focused. My favourite at the moment is ‘You can only walk your own path, and no one elses.’ As for your writing it is AMAZING! As for your photography AMAZING. As for your blog design AMAZING. Don’t be so hard on yourself.
    Ps. Brunettes rule xx

  • what a great quote, and so true. instead of being happy for what we have, who we are, what we do, we always want what someone else has, to be who someone else is, and to do what others do. Great post lovely. For what it’s worth, I think your parties belong with the best pinterest has to offer, easily!! xo

  • What a great post! I am very guilty of comparing myself, but in doing this you just make yourself unhappy. Being yourself and doing your best is always going to be better for you than what someone else does.

  • Oh, definitely! Because I’m a new blogger, I look at everyone else’s blogs, and you all seem so confident in what you are doing, and write such fun and interesting posts, and everyone has beautiful looking blogs, while I’m still struggling to work out what on earth I’m doing – when really I just need to shut up the voice of comparison and get on with enjoying it all! Thank you for the reminder!

  • MissMandy

    I was there on that day, it all went too quickly and there didn’t seem to be much opportunity to mingle. Shame. I think it is what stood out for most people. I am trying my best to focus on me.

    But the other thing I took away from that was regarding the spirit of blogging, and whilst I focus on me, rather than compare myself to others, I’m wanting to rejoice others success alittle more and share the love.
    Oh and I loved Kate (foxslane) comment that you have to live the best possible life you can in the real life and then blog about it. So many wise and insipiring words that day. Shame I didn’t bump into you.

  • Rebecca Thompson

    Boy do I know how you feel. I can’t seem to help but compare myself, my blog, my lifestyle etc. All it ever does is take your joy. Must update my affirmations!
    Becc @ Take Charge Now

  • Josefa, you only need to read these comments to see that we’re all basically in the same boat. I’ve tried to stop comparing myself to others, for that simple reason…..it’s so damaging!
    As much as I love Pinterest, it has a lot to answer for 🙂

  • It’s very hard not to compare I think, it’s a trait most of us do. In a blogging world is it very easy to look at others and think “wow haven’t they kicked my butt again” but then again, maybe they have different circumstances, less stress, less work, more spare time, more help. Write that post – I want to read it! Em x

  • What’s the saying? Don’t compare your every day to someones highlight reel. You are good enough Josefa. Don’t let anyone stop you from thinking that, including yourself xxx

  • Nikki@WonderfullyWomen

    We are always our own worst enemy, but we really are all awesome in our own way. This little mantra is one I use all the time when the green eyed monster starts chatting, maybe it will work for you…….”Exactly as I am now, I deserve and accept all good”. xxx Nikki @ Wonderfully Women

  • I so relate to this Josefa! But from everything I can see, you are doing amazingly as a blogger and a writer and have every reason to feel confident. I think we’d be friends in real life by the way x

  • Francesca WritesHere

    You are right, have more respect for your individual perspective – we are each our own worst critic
    xx

  • Danya Banya

    The thing is, that you are comparing yourself (warts and all) to someone else’s “presentation” of themselves (with all warts hidden). It’s not a fair comparison. Try to take a step back, and look at your “presentation” of yourself – and you’ll see that you are just as good as (or better than) the best of them!

  • Loree

    That was a powerful post. We are all gifted in different ways so don’t compare yourself to others. Just be yourself because that’s what you’re best at. We all are 🙂

  • Jody at Six Little Hearts

    Don’t worry about it – we are all doing the same. I like to remind others of this always.
    We used to live in a very wealthy area. I have never seen such an unhappy suburb in my life! Everyone was competing about everything from incomes to their kids’ academic achievements! Behind closed doors, everyone was whining about the competition and the stress of taking part in it.
    While I do miss living there and hopefully will one day move back, I will not miss that aspect of the area at all.
    Don’t compare – be a leader – and your blog looks sensational. What is more, the content is great! 😀

  • Chantel

    I totally relate to this. It’s the main reason my blog is in maintenance mode – my ideas in reality never meet up with the vision I have in my head!
    Lots of food for thought about the attitude change I need. For what it’s worth, your blog is gorgeous, but most importantly, the content, what YOU write, is inspiring 🙂 x

  • I totally get it this lovely and I often feel exactly the same way. I get lost in what everyone else is doing for a while and I lose my way. Then suddenly its like a little light comes on and all of a sudden I am dancing to my own tune again without a care in the world. I would love to say I will never compare myself again, but I would be lying. Sadly I think it is just human nature. Dont you EVER doubt yourself though or your gift hun. You have it, your own uniqueness and NO ONE else can compare to that either 🙂 xx

  • Rina

    I like how you compare the white snow with the rest of the fairy tale princess characters 😀 Yes, sometimes comparison can take us into wrong direction and a seed of jealousy I guess. But if managed rightly I think it can also a source of motivation and the drive for us to get better. One thing we should always know that the neighbor’s front yard will always be greener than ours.

    Rina
    cutecoconut.com

  • Amy

    I actually have that quote pinned to my notice board. Love love love this post. It’s beautiful xx

  • AllisonTaitWriter

    Lovely post Josefa. Yes, others blog and write and run and whatever, but only you can do it your way.

  • Mez

    Great post – I took that from the conference too. We all have our own story. Thanks for sharing yours. Cheers, Mez via Maxabella’s Weekend rewind

  • Kate

    Josefa, you know I think you write beautifully. Whatever everyone else is doing is not going to change that. Keep writing, as Always Josefa. See. It’s in your blog name…

  • So often we are our own harshest critic and so rarely are we our own loudest supporter. I think we can all take note of this and cut ourselves some slack … great post.

  • Oh Josefa. This post speaks to me very deeply.

    When I am at my lowest, without fail it is because I have found myself lacking in comparison with all the ‘better’ writers/bloggers/mothers/runners/people.

    I do it fairly regularly, and need to consciously refocus on being ME and not another version of THEM.

    It is hard sometimes, but it is worth it.

    I think you are a wonderful writer, and I’m looking forward to seeing that expand with the freedom from comparison 🙂

  • Hi Josefa, Great Post! I love this quote. So so true! We are all different and no one can tell our own stories better than ourselves but we are also human and strange and sometimes compare ourselves to others even in the face of such wise wise quotes such as this one. Looking forward to reading more of your blog. Mel x

  • The only medal we ever get at the end is the medal we give ourselves. For starting, for trying, for learning and growing. There will always be someone prettier, smarter, kinder, shinier. The thing is, that someone isn’t you. There will never be another you and no one, ever, anywhere at all, will ever bring to life what you can bring to life. x

  • The Plumbette

    Great post. I have had this discussion with friends and we have agreed that social media makes it sooo easy to make comparisons with each other. What I always remember is that most people put their best faces forward on social media… no one posts about having a bad day. I also take comfort in knowing that if I do things my way… I may inspire someone else to make a start on their own dreams.

  • Amy Zempilas

    Brilliant post! I think we all suffer with comparing ourselves to a certain degree. I recently touched on something similar on my blog too ‘ Keeping it Real’. Just discovered your blog and looking forward to reading more of it 🙂 x x
    http://wp.me/p34dtL-1Wz

  • rache

    Hi Josefa,
    I came across your blog for the first time tonight through a friend of a friend you wrote about.
    Got hooked in on this post from your catchy title 🙂 and I’m sure that so many women, particularly, identify with what you’ve shared.
    I says good on you for choosing to write that post, to start your blog, to go ahead and do the things you want to do!
    I think we can easily fall into that silly silly trap of caring too what other people think and thinking too little of ourselves.
    I had a party on the weekend and originally had second thoughts about my dress cos I thought my arms were getting fat and I didn’t have toned arms like Jennifer Hawkins. but I thought screw that! I really like this dress and my arms are actually ok! and I loved it. and people loved it. Sometimes it really is just all in our head.
    There is so much freedom to be gained and experienced when we fully take on who we are! and being a person of faith I really don’t think God created us so fearfully and wonderfully… only for us to wish we were like someone else. what a waste of a life!
    So I hope you keep being who you are and fully embrace all that you have been made to be. Your blog is obviously touching many lives and how cool that must feel to make such an impact on people, on a deeper level (even with your fake eyelashes and unicorn :P)
    Keep writing. all the best, rachel 🙂

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