19 March 2013

Comparison is the thief of joy.

I can't remember the first time I heard or read this quote, but it is one that has stuck to me like a magnet... A Google search reveals it was either said by Teddy Roosevelt or author Dwight Edwards... Neither of whom I’ve read so I'm sure I saw it quoted in another book or publication somewhere along the path of my life.
I say it at least two or three times a week; usually in conversation with someone else, occasionally as a reminder to myself.  If the word ‘compare’ ever enters a conversation, this is the first thing that pops out of my mouth.  I probably drive some people crazy as often as I say it.  And someone on the ship has apparently noticed; this photo is of a magnet that I found stuck to my door this morning!

I LOVE IT.  So whoever left it, thank you!! 
Why do I love it so?
Many, many reasons. Most of all, it’s truth.  And I love more than anything to speak truth into every life, situation, and conversation I find myself involved in.  (That’s a redemption story in itself… I have not always had such a high regard for truth… but that is another story for another day!)
And because I love words, and the power that words hold, let’s look at the definition of comparison.
Comparison: The act of comparing. Well, didn’t whoever wrote that dictionary go to third grade? I think that’s where I learned never to use the word you are defining in the definition of that word!  So, scratch that, let’s take a look at compare.
Compare: to examine (two or more objects, ideas, people, etc.) in order to note similarities and differences.
Okay.  Well, I can see how this is beneficial in life outside of myself. For example, it’s always best to compare two different fabrics to determine which is the better quality.  Or to compare the vegetarian lasagna with the beef lasagna at dinner and decide which one I like better.  No problem there.
Where we run into problems as the messy complicated humans that we are is when we start to compare people… most notably, ourselves.  This is the comparison that is the thief of joy.
What good can come out of comparing myself to someone else?  None, none at all.  We do it, though…  All. The. Time.  It’s inherent in our human nature.  Mine, anyway, I suppose I shouldn’t generalize so much. But really, comparison does nothing but rob us of contentment and peace within our own selves and lives and situations and circumstances.  It doesn’t matter if you are larger than her, have less money, a bigger house/cabin, run slower, sing better, have a higher level job, are friends with the boss,  are less creative or more generous.  It doesn’t matter. 
You are enough. Just you, for you. And that, my friends, is the truth.

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