Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Comparison Is The Thief Of Joy

You know, all those old sayings have so much truth to them, don't they? I've been learning lately that comparing myself to others is a fast track to making myself miserable.

I'm a competitive person. It isn't my finest habit, it's certainly not as endearing as I'd hope (mostly because I throw strops when I lose or am picked last for teams), and it leads to people talking about my bad behaviour over board games four years on. Yes, really. And at a conference on Saturday, I uttered the words to a delegate "Competition with yourself- it's the best kind!". 

I find myself constantly, subconsciously, competing against others. When I'm running (I tend to lose), when I'm walking to work (I tend to win), when I'm trying to be the last person to eat lunch at work (I tend to win that one too), when I'm going on a work trip to North Wales and my friend is going on a work trip to Canada- I put myself into direct competition with people to see how I measure up. 

And I never seem to see myself as enough.

I look at other women in the street, and compare myself- I'm not as pretty as her, or as tall as that woman, and I certainly don't have that girl's gorgeous figure. It's damaging when I do it with complete strangers, but when I start to compare myself to people I know- that's when I run into real problems.

As I think I've mentioned before, I'm surrounded by "the exception"- my younger brother and two of my closest friends are all homeowners. All are younger than me. And last night, this led to me having a full on meltdown in my bedroom, chest heaving with sobs as I thought to myself "The home I live in is so beautiful- and I will never, ever be able to own something like this!"

It's so difficult being surrounded by wonderfully successful people. On the one hand, I am unbearably thrilled for them. On the other, I am unbearably jealous of them- these people who seem to have sorted their shit out far more quickly than I have, and leave me feeling like I'm being left behind.

I need to stop doing it. I need to stop thinking I'm worthless if I'm not at the exact same stage in my life as other people I know. I need to be nicer to myself- I'm horrible to myself an awful lot of the time, actually. I need to remember my own blessings- I have a good job, a phenomenal group of friends, a wonderful boyfriend- rather than letting myself be battered and bruised by my own thoughts.


It's hard though, isn't it? Or is it just me? Am I the only person who compares themselves to others to this extent?


  1. I do that all the time as well. I always forget to appreciate what I have, and always wish I had that thing or looked a bit more like that or could do that. You're definitely not the only one :) But yes, you're right, we really need to stop comparing ourselves to others. Even if it's hard.

    I just recently started following your blog, but so far I find it really inspiring and great. :)

    xx Mimmi, Muted Mornings

  2. This is beautifully written and painfully truthful. I spend a lot of time comparing myself to others and feeling that mine is a life half lived, even though I know it's toxic to do so. For me the way forward is just to keep striving to do things I am proud of, little things that keep my focus where it should be. Creating my own path:)

  3. I completely understand how you feel. Even when I have success myself, or something to look forward to myself, it is instantly ruined by someone else who has something 'bigger' or 'better'. It means I ruin my own enjoyment! I find it really, really easy to compare myself at the moment because I'm in full time education, but I feel like once I'm out and into the working world it'll be even worse. And when someone has had some amazingly good luck and you've had only bad luck.. it's a nightmare! I sometimes feel so terrible because I can't feel happy for someone as I'm too busy feeling like I'm significant, or as if life is unfair to me and not them.

    It's such a tricky trait to have, but I think we have to drill it into our minds that we do have our luck, and we do have our own successes and happiness, and focus on that! After all, it literally does no good. Comparison ruins our happiness and that is pretty much all it does (unless it's motivational), so I just try to stick to MY life and make my own goals which suit me. If I am proud of myself for something then that's great and good for me.. who cares if someone has done better? If I have achieved something then it should be a source of happiness and not sadness!

    This is so relevant I just feel like I've ranted so much because I have found someone who feels the same way as me haha!

    Imogen x

  4. I feel like i dont know where to start on this!!! Just because this is subj a big heaving chasm of a subject for me and i feel like this could be me, my feelings, my life - am i comparing myself to you?!? Ah its such a hard thing because despite what ANYONE tells you, everyone does it, to some degree. I just think it matters more to others you know?!?!

    I feel like if i get right into this ill write an essay SO im not going to. To a certain degree you will never not compare yourself to others and in a way and in some things, competition is healthy - it keeps you on your toes?!? But not if your expectations are way way out of your reach because you are always going to feel like you don't match up. you just have to think to yourself, that whenever you are thinking 'she is prettier than me' 'he owns a house i don't' 'their job is better than mine' that they will be doing almost exactly the same thing about you. Just not always the same things. We are all different, no ones life path is the same and we become exactly who we are because of that and the choices/life we choose/don't choose to lead. You shouldn't see that as a bad thing, because how boring would life be if we all looked the same? Did the same and wanted the same?!?!

    I feel as if i could talk about this aaaaalll the live long day!!!!xxxxx

  5. Don't do it to useful. It won't make you feel better, it'll just help to bring you down. I was the last friend to get married, we are the only ones not to have children and we don't own our house. When they were all having babies in their 20s, I was moping because it wasn't me doing the same when I should have been out having fun without any ties and commitments. I've been with my husband since I was 18 so it wasn't that I was enjoying being single, I just wanted to wait until I started a family and enjoy life. We all need to do what is right for us and at the pace that suits us. From your blog it sounds like you really make the most of life - enjoy everything that it brings you know and the rest and the best will come naturally! x

  6. I think we're at a funny age where there is no 'normal'. I have friends who live at home with their parents, are single and working minimum wage bar jobs. I have friends who are married, home-owners, parents and earning the big bucks in 'career' jobs. I have friends everywhere in between those two. All of it is normal at our age. You're not behind in the race.
    My father is in his 50s, and he isn't a homeowner. He prefers renting. He's owned property and changed back to renting, but it's more flexible. He can move at the drop of a hat, and go somewhere totally new. He doesn't need those cushion of savings for 'just in case' home dramas, like fences blowing down, the roof leaking or the washing machine blowing up. If it happens, oh well, it's the landlords to sort it out and pay for it. No big deal. Homeowning is great, but not the only way to live.


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