Comparison is the Thief of Joy: 3 Things to Avoid It

comparison is the thief of joy

In a world of Insta-gratification, video bursts that show seeming perfection, and social filters, it’s hard not to compare ourselves to other people’s lives. Social media often gives us an inaccurate picture of our friends and family — or even influencers’ realities — leaving us feeling inadequate and frustrated with our circumstances. We’ve all been guilty of constantly evaluating our lives against those we see in our daily feeds, but this comparison can damage our mental health. Let’s look at why “Comparison is the thief of joy,” as Teddy Roosevelt so aptly said — why it is so damaging and how we can break free from this cycle. 

Comparison, the Thief of Joy

Comparison can come in many forms - comparing your wardrobe to that of your friends or comparing your relationships with people you don’t know. Unfortunately, such comparison has been found to have a detrimental effect on one’s mental health. It can lead to low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, envy, guilt, and shame. Research has also shown that it can reduce motivation and prevent us from enjoying life as we become obsessed with what other people have or are doing. 

Conversely, if you are happy with your life, living with your daily purpose in mind, you can find true happiness and put those negative feelings aside.

Breaking Free from the Comparison Trap

The good news is that comparison doesn't have to rule our lives! Here are some tips for breaking free from the cycle. Try implementing these tips and start living the joy you were meant to have. 

  1. Be mindful and focus on your own life.
    Instead of worrying about what others are doing or how they live, focus on yourself and practice self-care. Make sure you take breaks from social media (or even delete it if necessary) to keep negative thoughts about yourself at bay. 
  2. Celebrate small wins.
    Give yourself credit for all the little things you achieve every day — instead of focusing on all the things you haven't done yet. Whether you’re getting over a low point in your life, or you’re moving and shaking the world around you — you matter. Your life, your calling, and your existence matter. Celebrate each win no matter how small — it will help boost your confidence and joy and stop the “Comparison is the thief of joy” routine in its tracks! 
  3. Surround yourself with positive people.
    Surrounding yourself with people who lift you up and make you feel supported can help you break free from comparison. When you don’t feel like you need to prove anything or keep up with anyone else's standards, you can genuinely rest in your body and feel at peace with your life. 
Woman hugging herself

Comparison can damage the inner narrative if left unchecked, but hope exists! We can break free from this cycle by practicing mindfulness, celebrating small wins, and surrounding ourselves with positive people. Once we focus on ourselves instead of comparing with other people, we'll live more joyfully without feeling any inferiority complex creeping in.

Comparison is the thief of joy to so many people today — don’t waste another minute letting it rule over you. Take some time today for self-care and remember that no matter where anyone else stands in life compared to yours —YOU are enough.

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