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...The Thief of Joy

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines comparison as "the act or process of comparing such as the representing of one thing or person as similar to or like another."

Initially you might think, "Oh but comparison can lead to competition which isn't necessarily a bad thing." I totally agree with this but how often is it that comparison leads to HEALTHY COMPETITION. I can only speak for myself and say that more often than not, I found myself on the unhealthy side of things.

1. Example of when comparison is healthy: My friend just told me she'll be graduating earlier than I will. I think, "Oh my gosh I'm so excited for her! It will be horrible not having her around but I'm so happy, she's worked so hard. I need to work just as hard so I can get on out of this place and get to graduate school too."

2. Example of when comparison is unhealthy: Same scenario as above. I think, "What?! Well there goes my friendship with her. I hope she can't take that one class that'll help her finish early. We were supposed to finish together." Lol.

For a while I was constantly comparing myself to my friends. Some were losing weight faster than I was, getting better grades than I was, in better relationships, had better jobs, had more money, were graduating earlier than me... the list goes on and on. I was not using their success to motivate myself and because of that I stopped being happy when they were which is so unhealthy and has definitely put a toll on some of my friendships. Mes amis, I am so sorry.

A few months ago I decided to STOP with the comparison nonsense. For some people it works, it drives them to be better. But for me, it crippled me. Because I kept seeing what other people were doing so well I completely forgot to give myself props for the good things I was doing. I even started to feel frustrated whenever someone told me their good news, I stopped using social media because I didn't want to see all these happy people when I was feeling so bad about my situation.

That was unhealthy. That is not who I want to be. So I choose to only compare myself to ME. It isn't always easy and sometimes I have to actively stop myself from being too harsh on myself. However hard it is, it’s worth it and I am not sure if my friends would agree but I feel like a better friend now that I am not so jealous all the time.

It does get easier as I stay in my own lane and appreciate how far I've come and learn to love and embrace the glorious mess that I am. The example I gave actually happened (my close friend is graduating early) and my first reaction was the healthy one. I literally had no negative thoughts when she told me which indicates growth on my part and I can't wait to scream for my friend when she walks across that stage on her graduation day.

If you find yourself in the situation I was in, I hope this helped and remember we all have different journeys to take. If you are not progressing as fast as others it’s ok, God’s plan does not usually align too well with our plans but His plan is the right one. And I read this quote, "your speed does not matter; forward is forward." Growth is growth. Do not compete with anyone else besides that beautiful mess that’s staring back at you in the mirror.

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