Every living creature tends to compare itself to others in good or bad ways. Yet, one gets nothing by comparison, except getting occupied with negative thoughts, as comparison is the thief of joy. What’s more, they develop a feeling of enmity, inferiority and superiority complex, depression, FOMO (feeling of missing out), and even a habit of lying! This delays personal development.
Theodore Roosevelt, popularly known as Teddy Roosevelt, faced the loss of his dear ones one after the other on the same day. Still, he always believed in looking at the positive side of life. He had clearly put forward a statement that “comparison is the thief of joy”. This statement is heavy and impactful.
People become hollow from within and unkind towards humanity due to the habit of comparing. Everyone often stands at crossroads in life. Fortunately, God has created us as unique creatures. Therefore, one should keep faith in blessings.
Comparison Is the Thief of Joy?
The taste of comparison is bitter. It is a harmful and chronic practice, continuing for centuries. Matching the other person’s capabilities will decrease self-esteem and self-confidence. Mostly, it happens unconsciously. Hence, the person gets caught in the vicious cycle of comparison.
It makes the person weak by decreasing self-love. Comparison is the thief of joy because it prevents the person from focusing on their capabilities and qualities.
The person tries to live life like others. An unhealthy state of mind called jealousy is the outcome of the comparison. Jealousy subtracts the value of good deeds from life.
Individuals mostly compare themselves to other individuals who share the same sex, gender, age, occupation, or hometown. Again, the comparison is the thief of joy that prevents the person from focusing on the positive side of life. He or she starts counting the blessings of the other person and feels neglected. He or she thinks that God is partial.
Every parent wishes to give birth to an outstanding child. But, mostly, they can’t withstand the average or below average child. So they start comparing. They compare their children with other children in terms of cognition (academic score, extra-curricular activities, and intelligence), physical development (height, weight, or sports), socio-emotional development (friendships or rational thinking), language development, and moral development (values, ethics, or morality). And through observation, children also practice this habit in later life.
Comparison is secretly present in every relationship. This is a sign of relationship breakdown. Siblings and friends compare each other on many scales. Some of them are academics, physical features, affection and attention from parents and others, successful opportunities, material things, career options, social media support, or choices.
The most common comparison these days is social comparison. Leon Festinger gave a popular social comparison theory in 1954. This theory clearly explains that an individual uses comparison to decide his or her social and personal worth.
The individual eventually feels good after observing himself or herself ahead of everyone. And the same person can feel bad and behind after observing that everyone is ahead of him or her.
Every day, a person’s some part of thinking gets in the direction of comparison. Nowadays, everyone is on social media now and then. It is the biggest platform for performing a comparison. Also, people are quietly judging others during comparison. And this makes the situation worst.
The state called “imaginary audience” is often outlined in young adolescence. It means that a person continuously imagines and accepts that numerous people are interestingly watching their every action. But these days, everyone is following this state of mind.
Maximum people stay active on social media to impress and match the altitude of others. As a result, they spend less time with themselves.
People are showing their unreal side on social media. Social media is a catalyst of social comparison. Some people eagerly wait to compare themselves with others. They look forward to new announcements (story, posts, status, reels) on social media.
The most dangerous fact about comparison is that people knowingly or unknowingly compare themselves with people above them rather than those below. Furthermore, as the person develops with age, the reason for comparison becomes foolish.
Comparison steals pleasant moments of life, and that is why the comparison is the thief of joy. People start mirroring themselves. They keep in mind other’s achievements and rich family backgrounds. They try to adopt the wrong methods to match their level. Thereby, the comparison is the thief of joy which disturbs the person’s well-being and mental peace.
People go through hard times because distressed comparison is the thief of joy. Later in life, they feel guilty about wasting time on such a practice. Finally, they feel shame and remorse.
4 Ways To Change the Statement “Comparison Is the Thief of Joy”
1. Lighten Up the Trait of Gratitude and Humanity
Gratitude is a technique to be grateful for the blessings of life. It generates a feeling of satisfaction. Gratitude leads to emotional wellbeing and humanity. This allows offering help to people in need. It is a way to bridge the gap between rich and poor. Consequently, one will not get the time to perform a comparison to harm themselves.
Gratitude reminds the person that he is not the only one suffering. He or she also realizes that only his sufferings are not painful. This allows the person to recall the good things that have happened in his or her life. The person feels blessed to have access to healthy living. One starts valuing successful opportunities.
2. The Focal Point Should Be the Outpouring Mindset
A progressive mindset will allow the person to increase the field of thinking and exploration. But narrow mindset will decrease the same. It makes the person feel jealous. He or she thinks that there are only a few opportunities available, so he or she should hurry up to fill the vacancy.
But fortunately, there are many relatable moments available. Everyone can have access to them after dedicated hard work. Thereby, everyone should be happy with other’s success. He or she should increase their as well as other’s confidence. And stay determined towards their objectives of life.
Half knowledge is dangerous, so one should always be a learner. Always stay keen on learning something new from others. He or she should increase knowledge about new topics. And never feel degraded.
3. Make Comparison, a Star of Joy
Distressed and unpleasant comparison is the thief of joy, so make the comparison a star of joy. A person can do something which can bring calm to the storm of negative thinking. The person can engage in fruitful activities in difficult times.
Comparison is the thief of joy because it helps to find gaps in life. So on a good note, one can start working towards them to achieve satisfaction. This is a golden way to look for hidden talents and skills. Through this, one can improve his or her mistakes. Hence, it is not impossible to make a comparison, the star of joy.
4. Fix Your Own Life Goals
Setting life goals on your own is extremely important. To achieve satisfaction, goals must be set by keeping in mind your strengths and weaknesses. Joy and pleasure should come from own set goals. It should never be dependent on others.
One can achieve this by noting down one’s field of interest and related decisions. This shouldn’t change with people’s choices. With this practice, people start losing out on the practice of comparison. Even if they feel behind, they never become pessimistic. Rather, change their path to bring satisfaction in their life.
Comparison is the thief joy which not only steals happiness but makes the person blind as well. The person fails to perceive the other person’s hard work, capabilities, talent, skill, strengths, progress, or nature. Self-comparison invites emotions like self-hate, self-doubt, unhappiness, waste of precious time, or overthinking.
Every creature can control this practice. Otherwise, in the end, there will still be someone to compare oneself to. A person feels useless and hopeless. One can limit exposure to platforms like social gatherings and social media. Initially, it doesn’t look easy, but everyone can achieve it.
Sincere focus on life goals, the celebration of the success of others, showing gratitude, spending time in favorite activities, keeping mindset busy in positive work, working on self, filling gaps in life, and finding happiness in small things. All these practices will never steal the joy of life.
Nobody is sharing their failures with others. Everybody believes in sharing their perfect life because they fear judgment and comparison. One should never forget that peace and happiness increase in life by sharing. Everybody is unique in their potential to do something. Henceforth, the person should stop comparing because comparison is the thief of joy.
Ms. Priyanka Ohri is a Human Developmentalist. She is pursuing a master's in Human development from SNDT Women’s University, Mumbai and sustains a graduation degree in B.sc home science with a specialization in Human development from Lady Irwin College, Delhi University. She is an empathetic listener and an articulate writer.