We’ve all heard the quote: “Comparison is the thief of joy” by Theodore Roosevelt. If you’ve never heard this one before, you’re welcome.
Ever since coming across this six word, seemingly inconspicuous sentence, my view on comparison has been utterly transformed. I think I’ve always known, we all know, that comparison kills the joy you possess for what you have in life.
But, it’s just a subconscious understanding, only nibbling at your consciousness when you feel like poop after comparing your cracking pleather Target purse with your friend’s (still nice) pleather Coach bag.
So, I’ve always known on a deeper level that comparing myself with others never ends well, but it wasn’t until reading that quote did it marinate and sink in.
But, because I’m me, it was not a quick fix. I still compare myself, despite knowing it’s not helpful. This is akin to eating a donut everyday for breakfast. I know it’s not good for me, yet I still have chocolate cake donut in the corners of my mouth on a daily basis.
I’m about to be real with ya’ll.
(I think by now you’ve probably gleaned that this isn’t my usual satire post. I hope I haven’t lost any of you from forehead-on-keyboard boredom.)
Lately, despite considering that quote on a regular basis, I’ve been comparing hardcore where I’m at in life, and with my blog with literally everything and everyone I deem “better” than me.
Here are some examples:
So and so (x 10) bought a house, so now I feel like I’m failing at adulting. Some of my friends and acquaintances own more than one bed and the latest front-loading washer and dryer. The largest appliance I own is a fucking microwave. It’s easy to get down when you aren’t there yet, despite trying really hard to be. It’s especially fucky when you’re in your mid-30s and you’re still not quite sure how to become a real adult.
So and so goes on luxurious vacations twice a year and I’m just over here like, “I went to IKEA in Sacramento…” It’s too easy to feel anxious and stir-crazy jealous when you witness endless world traveling on Facebook while you sit on your couch with a pint of ice cream and your only door, at the moment, to the rest of the world-Karl Pilkington and An Idiot Abroad.
So and so can wear a tank top without fear of knocking over someone with their swinging turkey wings. This ones rough, because nice arms can be obtained, but it’s harder than all the effort needed to achieve everything else in this post combined.
So and so has thousands of followers after less than a year and gets hundreds of likes on their posts in less than 24 hours. When I come across crazy successful bloggers, I wonder what I’m doing wrong. Why have my posts never gone viral? Why have I never been Freshly Pressed on WordPress (and what is that even)? It’s almost scary how easy it is to compare yourself with other bloggers. When I do this (all the fucking time), I instantly feel less than or worry I’ll be completely irrelevant tomorrow*.
After many discussions with my blogging buddy, An Historian, I’ve decided enough is enough.
It’s time I re-read, more than usual, if necessary, my favorite quote. Here are some truths I’ve learned since my comparison-quote-awakening:
1. Apartment-living ain’t half bad. Not only do I never have to pull a single weed or replace window screens with my own money, when I plug up the toilet beyond basic plunger repair with my abundant toilet paper use, I can call the landlord, instead of the plumber. Also, some people live in squalor. I have granite counter tops in my bathroom. Basically, appreciate the shit you have. Also, if I’m ever destined to own my own house, it’ll happen when it’s meant to happen.
2. So many other less fortunate people in the world would kill to have my TJ Maxx special, but they’d use it to carry food home to their starving family. Buck the fuck up, baby!
3. Further, it’s not about the material. When you’re dead and gone, your more-than-my-rent-expensive handbag might find its way to a thrift store where some meth head might steal it to store their meth. Or, some careless person who gets pen marks all inside might own it after you. Shit, maybe it’ll find its way onto the giant ocean garbage mountain and some Humpback Anglerfish might use it as its home. Did your bag really matter that much in the grand scheme of things? The answer is “no”**.
4. Travel is one of the most sought after things in life. It’s worth it to skip the Starbucks to save a few bucks that can quickly turn into a few hundred bucks. All of that can be used to go somewhere that can mean more than any material object (even an Ombré Pink Drink).
5. My body isn’t perfect and never will be. Other than a few freak alien exceptions (Candice Swanepoel anyone?), we all have imperfect bodies. We all have body parts we wish were firmer, smaller, bigger, flatter, etc. Whenever I get to feeling really self-conscious around taught-skinned gorgeous women, I pretend they are hiding a huge skin flap on their butthole (I saw that on an episode of Embarassing Bodies, so that’s a thing now). Also, we can’t all be hilarious and gorgeous.
6. Comparing myself with other writers, especially those in my same genre is the most detrimental comparing I do. I’ve decided that just because someone else is an exceptional writer and is genuinely funny, doesn’t negate the fact that I can be too. I have my own style and so does the next funny guy. We can all be funny. We can all support each other. Kumbaya and all that shit.
7. Finally, there will always be someone who has better, looks better, and seems to always have all the luck. On the flip side, someone is probably looking at me, thinking, “Why, oh why, can’t I be like that magestic beast?”
OK, that last one made me choke on my oatmeal cookie Halo Top.
But, you never know.
Life is mysterious. Live your life in a way that makes your heart sing, your creativity blossom, and your belly feel happy and full without worrying about anyone else.
Fuck yo couch.
*This in no way denotes that I do not appreciate the massive recognition my blog gets from my amazing supporters. I love you all times one million cupcakes. *muah*
**If you love material things, don’t be offended. I love the shit out of material things. Why else am I at Target every weekend scrounging through the discount bins for my 1,453rd cute pencil/magazine/flower/makeup/whatever holder? I feel you.