Something I’ve struggled with for my entire life is comparing myself. Whether it’s to my classmates, peers, celebrities, friends, strangers, I just can’t help but compare myself to them. I take a look at what I have and what I’m like and I ultimately make myself feel bad in the end. What’s nearly impossible to do is to stop comparing myself. It’s really not worth it in the end.
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” - Theodore Roosevelt
When I first read this quote by Theodore Roosevelt, I took it as a grain of salt. I thought that he was just exaggerating, because to say that comparison is what takes away joy seemed like a bit of an overstatement. In my mind, there were plenty more things that made me feel worse.
However, when I took a significant amount of time to reevaluate what it was that made me feel bad about myself, I realized that at the core of it all, comparison was the problem. Everything stemmed from it. Comparing yourself helps nothing in the long run.
What really matters is growing to appreciate yourself. To appreciate the things that you’re good at, that you’re proud of, and that makes you, you. In reality, there’s nothing that matters more than how you think of yourself. Those people who are in your class who understand the material better? You probably won’t speak to them after the semester ends. In ten years, the people from your club who seem to have their life together won’t even matter as you’re doing your own thing and owning it.
I can’t say that I’ve completely cut out comparison from my life. We’re all human, and it’s one of the most difficult things ever to stop something that’s been ingrained in your mind for as long as you can remember. When times get really rough, I can’t help but compare myself to those around me. Everyone seems to be doing so much better, and I get stuck in my head about whether or not I’m doing the right thing.
But comparison really is the thief of joy. As long as you’re comparing yourself to others, you’re never going to be happy. You need to do things for you, not others. It truly takes a weight off of your shoulders. Once I began to unlearn my habitual comparing, I began to love myself more and appreciate who I am. In the end, that’s the real, true goal.