Comparison is the thief of Joy
I am writing this blog post, because this has been on my heart this weekend. It’s undeniable that we compare our love life, career path and financial status to people every single day. In a world of social media, how can you not? I want to write this to my husband who struggled with this recently. He had read on social media that a few of his friends were going out to a local brewery and my husband was not one of the men invited. As he told me about the get together that was going on, I could see that it bothered him. It really bothered him. We took a shower together, and the entire time he kept asking me “when did I become unfun?” My husband is a lot of fun, and he knows how to make even the most mundane tasks a party, so I know this is not the case. I told him that maybe they assumed he would say no? Maybe they had all planned this when he wasn’t around? But I could tell that it still bothered him. He started comparing where he was in life to his friends and it stole his joy. He spent the remainder of the night and into the next day really hung up on it. No matter how much I tried to talk him out of this comparison, it seemed to sink him farther and farther into self-doubt. I know he would not change our life for anything in the world and I also know that he loves our daughter, but when we see our friends going out and partying without us – it can hurt, right? There have been other times in our marriage where he compared our apartment, car, job title etc. to his friends and somehow felt less than or feeling pity for himself.
When I worked in the Gulf, I used to get these “envy bugs” occasionally. We would get a big bonus at work and I would see photos on social media of people’s side by sides and extravagant vacations meanwhile I was using these big bonuses to pay off our student loans. It felt like I wasn’t “adulting” correctly and I remember calling up my husband and telling him how I was feeling. He would remind me that we had a common goal that we were working on and that we don’t know what other people’s living situations are. We can only control our own and focusing on our future. He was absolutely right and I would get over myself. When the downturn of the oilfield came, I saw a lot of pain from those same people who I thought were living the best life. See, people only show you what they want you to see so when you compare yourself to someone’s filtered self you aren’t getting an accurate representation of the pain they are pushing through. I do not write these Life Lessons as a showcase of how perfect my life is, and in fact I want it to be very much the opposite. I want it to be a warning to anyone who is reading of lessons I have learned the hard way. My life is not perfect and that’s why I write this, in fact my life is all sorts of chaos which is why I feel like I am even more qualified to write.
On Sunday’s we spend a meal with my in-laws traditionally and this weekend we got BBQ at a local restaurant for lunch. My daughter is 1 year old and has no concept of personal space and is innocently curious; there was a little girl, named Charlotte, at the restaurant just a few months older than my daughter that she decided she wanted to play with. They played in that restaurant for the better part of 30 minutes until I had to (quite literally) drag her out. Charlotte’s parents gave me their business cards (why had I not thought of that before!) and said if we wanted to have a play date to contact them. We went out to ice cream later and there was another little girl there around my daughter’s age. My daughter approached this little girl who wanted nothing to do with her. The little girl just stared at my daughter and my daughter tried to be silly and tried to sit next to her. It did not hurt her feelings to not have the little girl run around with her, she returned to our table without a care in the world. She did not see herself as inadequate just because someone else did not want to play.
I want you to know that I see how strong you are handling the burden that you are going through. You are so loved and cherished that I hope you do not let any comparison steal your joy today. I hope you remain authentic to your struggle and your story and share it with those who need to know they are not alone. I hope you know deep down of who you are and are steadfast in your worth.