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Comparison is the thief of joy


Comparison is the thief of joy

Comparison is the thief of joy, a popular saying first said by Theodore Roosevelt, a former US president. He says that “when we compare, we determine our worth according to other people's performance in life, leading to feelings of insignificance and insecurity”

It is a saying that I often heard, but never gave much thought to. That was until I experienced its meaning myself.

I think we all compare ourselves to other people, whether we see them online or in our environment, and whether we realise it or not.
Personally, I was never really conscious of this behaviour. That is until I noticed that it was already taking away some of my own joy.

In my tutorial group, most people enjoy reading. So, like the nerds that we are, we decided to start a reading club. Among the members, there was this one girl who read over a hundred books in a year, devouring one page after the other, and her enthusiasm gave me ever more motivation to do the same. Up until 2021, I read around 15-20 books a year, a number I was very satisfied with. But after talking to this girl, I felt like I wanted more. I bought book after book, adding them all to my TBR (ToBeRead) list, never finishing them. Even today, 2 months later, I still haven’t read them.

I put so much pressure on myself, to read more and to read faster, only to find myself in a major slump, one which I only came out of two weeks ago. It was then when I realised that I’m taking away my own joy of reading by comparing myself to her. She is an incredibly nice girl who never rubbed her ‘reading success’ in my face. Still, I got so fed up with myself for not being “good enough”. I used to enjoy reading, but for those two months, I hated it.

This was the first time I felt like I understood the saying. Ever since], I began reviewing more moments in my life to find out if I did this more often and the answer was yes, I did do it a lot more than I thought.

Realising this now, I try to pay attention to my behaviour. I still compare myself to others and feel insecure from time to time, but knowing I have this habit helps me and my mental health to improve.

Bottom line is you might be taking away your own confidence by comparing yourself to others. Compare yourself to who you were some time ago instead and see the progress you made. In my opinion, that is the only time comparing yourself is beneficial.