Comparison is the thief of joy – Theodore Roosevelt.
How true this is. I heard this the other day and have been thinking about it ever since. It came into my head when I helped my son cut down the sunflower he had grown for a competition at school – he was so excited, he even hung a toy medal round its stalk, yet at 83cm tall (the results have been counted and verified) I knew he had little chance of winning.
The thought of him being disappointed made me think, I wish he could just stay happy that he’s managed to grow such a cool flower all by himself? He tried his best, even though our garden doesn’t get the sun all day and his flower had been munched on by caterpillars. Anyway, he didn’t win, and of course that’s ok, it’s all part of healthy competition, I just didn’t want him to lose that joy.
It came into my head too, many more times this week while I’ve been thinking about where I am in life, what I’m doing now and what I’d like to achieve. I started this blog, for example, as a bit of a hobby, a way of writing more creatively and sharing ideas about things I like with the wider world. I mean, why not? It seems like a kind of fun thing to do. Maybe someone will be touched by something I write or be inspired by it, who knows, even if I make just one person smile through doing it, then it will have been a success. But the more I get into blogging, the more blogs I read, and the more I feel there are so many people doing the same thing that can I really be a voice that can be heard? Then I remember the quote, and just think well, if I get something out of it then I’m just going to keep going. Who knows where it will take me, and the people I will meet. I’ve already met quite a few, and if you’re reading this, hi!
It came into my head when listening to my husband talk frankly about how he has changed since being ill, and how a once fit and healthy man could have changed to being someone who needs to be cared for, when really all he wants to do is to be able to care for those around him. After having two major operations on his abdomen, he’s understandably self-conscious about how he might look with the scars those ops have left behind. Yet to me, they’re signs of survival and pure strength.
Perhaps we all need a reminder of the how comparing ourselves to others may not always be the most helpful way to go. I’m not saying we shouldn’t compare ourselves at all, as there’s a lot to be said for looking to others to see how we can change. It’s just that we need to make sure we keep an eye on how we can applaud the things we do that we can be proud of. After all, we encourage this in our children, so why not in ourselves?