21 Feb The thief of everything
The mom of three on the other side of the pool, who speaks once and her kids listen. The girl on the other side of the boardroom table who presents her opinion with confidence. The lady at the front of the Barre class who looks like she works out for an hour seven days a week, but she’s not the instructor. The friend who makes the healthiest, home made food for her kids and never seems to make the same dish twice. The girl in the lift who is polished and professional and has a photo of her two kids as the screensaver on her phone. The beautiful, cheerful wife sitting across from her husband in the restaurant. The mom who always remembers show and tell, is always on the side of the cricket field, who makes the fanciest, tastiest creations for baker day.
I’ve watched all these women. I’ve compared myself to all these women. More often that not finding something about myself – my parenting, my fitness, my marriage, my dress code, my work experience that just doesn’t quite match up the theirs. I don’t even know her story. I don’t know what her morning was like. I don’t know how many hours of sleep she got last night. I don’t know how many times she had to quietly cheer herself on to contribute to the boardroom discussion. I don’t know how many times she prayed for a husband that loves and appreciates her. But still, there’s a comparison and we somehow still feel that they have it and we don’t.
It’s called the comparison trap and it is destructive. It does not uplift, it does not encourage, it does not bring joy or happiness or any form of positivity. It only brings destruction. And we fuel it. We fuel it by telling ourselves that we have done something wrong and she hasn’t. We fuel it by thinking that we need to change who we are to be something different. We fuel it by thinking that we have to be like that mom, that wife, that girl who has climbed the corporate ladder. We fuel it by not recognising that every single one of us is uniquely different and that that is an absolutely wonderful thing! We fuel it by not appreciating and using our talents and gifts that are ours. Not hers, yours.
Each of us has a unique purpose here. Each of us has been blessed with the skills and strengths and passions that we need to live the life that was meant for us. If we are constantly trying to be like someone else at be good at what they are good at and achieve what they have achieved, we miss out. We miss out on using our unique gifts for good. We miss out on the joy and fulfilment that comes when we do what we are passionate about. We miss out.
Comparison isn’t only the thief of joy. It is the thief of everything.