**This is a rant post. You have been warned.**
Comparison is the thief of joy. I just keep repeating it to myself over and over. I am so frustrated and overwhelmed with things I want to say about this that I don't even know where to start. The phrase is on repeat in my mind.
It rings so true. SO true that it stirs up all sorts of anger from deep within me. Anger at "society". Anger at the "media".
Anger at myself. For letting my self-judgment and propensity toward... not jealousy... but feeling less than enough steal my joy.
We live in a highly competitive society.
I know my generation is full of "participation award" winners and that supposedly messed us up and made us feel entitled... but I would argue otherwise.
No kid with a participation ribbon thinks he or she is a "winner". Kids know that first place is the best and that anything less is... not the best.
Kids know who the smartest kid in class is. Kids know who the funniest kid in class is. The prettiest.
The list goes on.
I can't tell you how many of my friends are stuck with these labels (affixed to them by adolescents clambering up the ladder toward social success) permanently ingrained in their self-perception.
I bet if you took a poll, almost every single person you asked could name that person. The person who seemed to embody perfection at a level unattainable to the rest of us. The person whose talents and abilities outshone the rest of us. The person who, because of their success, made the rest of us feel inadequate.
Comparison is the thief of joy.
I think this is encouraged (and perpetuated) by the media.
Gossip magazines rank the most hated celebrities. If that isn't bad enough all on its own...
Who "wins" (loses?)...
An infamous serial killer? An out-of-control young star that wreaks havoc everywhere he goes? A desperate starlette fighting addiction and setting a terrible example for young girls everywhere?
No. Don't be silly.
Because... she strives to eat a clean diet... she works hard to be a devoted mother... and she can afford a wardrobe the vast majority of Americans cannot...
If we have really gotten to the point of hating someone who SEEMS to have it all together (I'm sure Gwyneth has her frazzled moments just like the rest of us), then we are in a very sad, sad state.
Don't let Gwyneth steal your joy, people.
When I get really honest with myself and the things that I struggle with (shopping too much, hating my body, anxiety, feeling ugly, feeling unworthy), it's pretty clear that these serious issues all stem from my mind being in a place of comparison.
I would be better and happier if I had a closet more like her.
Why can't my arms be more toned like hers? I need to work harder to change them.
I need everything to be under control in its proper place so that some unnamed rival is defeated.
How can D be sure that I'm the right person for him? There are so many other women who are nicer, sweeter, more giving, and might make him happier.
Comparison is the thief of joy.
Let's look at those same thoughts from a place of gratitude and self-love.
I am so blessed to have what I have. Regardless of what I wear, I am a good person. I am enough.
I feel healthy. I exercise because it makes me feel good. I eat well because it makes me feel good. Feeling good and healthy is more than enough.
There will be moments that I have it all together. There will be moments when I don't. Whether or not everyone shares them, everyone has these ups and downs, as well. It is perfectly acceptable.
I choose D because he makes me happy, challenges me, and encourages me to be a better person for myself because he loves me. I trust him to be doing the same in choosing me as a partner. I am nice, sweet, giving, make him happy, and love him. I am enough.
At least for this moment, on this day, the joy is mine.
Make it yours, too.