“Comparison Is The Death of Joy”

Mark Twain said that. It’s true: we can be tooling around, all happy with ourselves and our lives, until the devil Comparison creeps into our head.

This came to my mind today because of my gorgeous baby sister. She’s lovely, kind and smart. She has a great husband and two darling daughters, and a career in teaching. She told me, “I feel like the fat one when we go out together.”

My sis is comparing her build to mine, and feels bad because she weighs a few pounds more than I do. So not-necessary, of course; she is fabulous (and slim too, although that does not affect her fabulous-ness).

I told her she’s a goddess. And that if I allow myself to fall under the Comparison spell, I could wish I were her age (43) instead of mine (58). She’s younger! I’m thinner! So what? We are both good-looking women on the outside and inside.

I will remind myself to avoid the Comparison Trap. There is always someone smarter, richer, younger, and more successful. I am trying to be a good “me”, and that’s all I can do. You go, Mark Twain, way to tell it.

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  1. Lol! I always try to admire what I see in others, not envy them for their gifts. I enjoy the differences in people and try to surround myself with it. Variety is the spice of life!

  2. Comparing where it is constructive because you become inspired, yes – like from blogs, or from recently visiting a friend's house for the first time – I came away with lots of ideas!

    But comparing where it makes you feel inadequate, and moves away from celebrating, diversity, no.

    Thanks for the food for thought, Patti.

  3. So true! I have to remind myself to avoid comparing myself to others at different times. I think with all the social media these days, it lends itself to so much more comparing.

  4. If only we lived in a world where the green eyed monster didn't exist, its a sad reality isn't it. I think we all fall into the comparison trap from time to time, even if we try our best not too. Great topic as always Patti!

  5. I just spent last weekend encouraging my fiancé to avoid the comparison trap. He ran the West Point Triathlon and instead of celebrating his accomplishment, he was comparing his performance with other participants. Many of which were much younger than he is…finally, he understood that it was about individual achievement when he saw a wounded warrior who lost a leg in combat cross the finish line. We are all on our own journey…comparison IS the death of joy.

  6. Life at armpit level taught me very early that I'm never going to be like "everyone" else. The general idea of acceptance lends insight but is often hard to apply consistently! But sometimes physical faults that are difficult or impossible to change can be liberating. I'm short, but I never fret about it. (Well, almost never. But never for long!) Address it, try to work with it … yes. I've got my set of physical concerns. But height is something I can't even envy because it's so far away from my reality.
    Maybe that's why I don't feel compelled to measure up to the images in style magazines. It's a given it'll never happen, so it's easier to just look for what I can use and leave the rest. I don't feel left out or resentful because I know Madison Avenue is playing us for all we're worth, and it's my job to do the sorting out for myself.
    The women you host on Visible Mondays, and all the women in the Over 40 community have the most meaningful impact on my style thinking. The huge diversity keeps my planning aspirational, and that's a huge gift. I feel lots of admiration for so many of these women, and that's a lot more personally productive than envy.
    You are so right, Patti.

  7. So true– letting go of trying to be the prettiest/slimmest/smartest is so freeing– someone will always eventually come around to top you!! Just do you 🙂

  8. Constantly talking about this with a friend vis a vis business. The fantasies she has about how everyone else is doing so much better than her and that they have no money/publicity/store worries at all are incredible. She's always saying "I'm worse off than them because of this, this and this issue" and I'm laughing and saying I have those same three characteristics as you, but you think I'm doing great! It's really a bad state of mind to be in — plus it's 100% detached from reality. Just because no one goes around advertising their problems doesn't mean they don't have them!

  9. I guess this is the reason I have always preferred the company of male friends to female ones. Women can be so jealous, always comparing. I was hoping it would change once I got older, but it's the same old same old. I've been lucky to find a few close female friends that have a "male" mentality when it comes to this issue.

  10. Oh it's so true, so true. I think most of us have felt the sting of envy or inadequacy when faced with others, at least at some point in our lives. Letting go of that is a really life-enhancing skill. We can't possibly compare like with like since we are all different, and so often, the comparison is based on an illusion anyway. Bet your little sis is just as beautiful as you, she sounds great! xxxx

  11. Well, you look fantastic. 58? What is your secret? It's really difficult not to compare, and sometimes I think blogging makes it more so, but certainly if you keep comparing what you don't have rather than appreciate what you do than contentment will never be within reach. Have a great weekend. Xx

  12. It's very true! We will always find others with different attributes so comparison is pointless.

  13. That is a fantastic quote – agree with Mark Twain and others here, there's no point beating yourself up about these things.

  14. Thanks for the reminder, Patti. As much as I love seeing what everyone else is up to in blogland, it's easy to fall into comparisons sometimes. We've all got our own path to follow, and I need to remember that mine is lined with plenty of green grass!

  15. Just back from a eye opening week of trauma, I can tell you first hand that we all have different bodies and some are nicer to look at than others but we need to love and appreciate what our bodies do for us on a daily basis and how lucky we are to have what we do. Too soon all that can be taken from us and you truly never appreciate what you have until it is gone.


  16. So true! So easy to fall into that trap. Have a lovely weekend! ~Ann at Tarnished Royalty

  17. I love that saying! And I agree, you are a very very young 58. You don't look 58!

  18. but you do look like 43, never thought you're 58! congrats! and yes, comparison really makes people sad.

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