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Is Comparison The Thief of Joy?

1
After the events in Manchester this week I’ve been thinking a lot about comparisons in life. At a time like this you can’t help but look for deeper meaning in the universe….and for me part of that is about comparing my life with the lives affected by tragedies such as this. When scary events shake your sense of stability in the world… families and friends devastated for the rest of their lives for daring to go to concert and have fun…. It’s inevitable to feel grateful for your life and the life of your loved ones. The horror and sadness you
SelfishMother.com
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feel for the victims and their families and the gratitude and relief you feel for your babies/partners/siblings/parents/friends will be overwhelming. As the clichéd memes proclaim, you WILL want to hug your loved ones a little closer.

So that’s a comparison. Obviously. A positive comparison, right?

But, hang on. Aren’t we taught that comparison is the thief of joy? Cos according to good ol’ Teddy Roosevelt it is!

How can that make sense? That’s exactly the type of comparison that gives us perspective. Surely it’s serves a perfect tool

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to keep us grounded when things are going a bit cray cray?

Well. Comparison can also be a harbinger of doom. There have been several articles in the media about how social media is making us saddums because most people only post the heavily filtered highlights of their life. And if you constantly compare your life with those who you perceive as more successful or rich or ….whatever it is that you want but don’t have….. (In my case thinnyness!) Of course you are going to feel a cavernous emptiness and worthlessness that will be hard to crawl back

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out of.

I have to admit, I’m a bit of a coveter. I like a good covet. I’ve previously admitted a (now-not-so-secret) morbid fascination with The Kardashians. I love watching their wealth. I know that’s a truly vulgar thing to admit but I looooove seeing their life style. Their perfect make up, their non-moving faces, their pristine, maHoooosive houses, their endless holidays and trips to restaurants, their huge cars, their lovely, straightened shiny hair! It makes me want all their things! I want to have endless holidays and perfect hair and

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fake skin! It makes me strive to be better disciplined in my eating and exercise, it makes me want to present a smarter appearance to the outside world…If I could tap into just a little bit of their glamorousness….wouldn’t my life just be a teensy bit better?

It’s a common thought process: if I just had a BIT more money, if I was just a BIT better at eating healthy, if I just did a BIT more exercise then then then….

Personally I have been finding it really hard not to wish away the time until my youngest is in full time school. We’re on

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our knees with childcare fees and every month it’s a financial struggle. So sometimes I can’t help but compare our situation to others who don’t seem to struggle so much financially.

But I’ve recently had an epiphany. Yes I just used that word….but it’s true. I’ve realised, finally, that I might never ever be happier than I am right now. I might be thinner and we will very probably be in a better financial state, but who knows what else might accompany that? We are all getting older, the world is seemingly a bit shakier….. Who knows

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what could happen? Illness and death are inevitable parts of life and our family won’t escape that. So who cares if you’re rich and thin, then? Right now my family are healthy and happy. We can afford the mortgage (we HAVE a mortgage) and we can eat and drink. I am surrounded by love. I couldn’t be luckier. If my life never gets better than right now then that’s 100% fine by me.

Because compared to families suffering from grief and loss, my life is the epitome of perfect. That comparison is not the thief of joy.

Masses of love to the people

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of Manchester. And if, you know, you want to like…. Then do just hold those dearest a little closer tonight. XXXXX
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- 25 May 17

After the events in Manchester this week I’ve been thinking a lot about comparisons in life. At a time like this you can’t help but look for deeper meaning in the universe….and for me part of that is about comparing my life with the lives affected by tragedies such as this. When scary events shake your sense of stability in the world… families and friends devastated for the rest of their lives for daring to go to concert and have fun…. It’s inevitable to feel grateful for your life and the life of your loved ones. The horror and sadness you feel for the victims and their families and the gratitude and relief you feel for your babies/partners/siblings/parents/friends will be overwhelming. As the clichéd memes proclaim, you WILL want to hug your loved ones a little closer.

So that’s a comparison. Obviously. A positive comparison, right?

But, hang on. Aren’t we taught that comparison is the thief of joy? Cos according to good ol’ Teddy Roosevelt it is!

How can that make sense? That’s exactly the type of comparison that gives us perspective. Surely it’s serves a perfect tool to keep us grounded when things are going a bit cray cray?

Well. Comparison can also be a harbinger of doom. There have been several articles in the media about how social media is making us saddums because most people only post the heavily filtered highlights of their life. And if you constantly compare your life with those who you perceive as more successful or rich or ….whatever it is that you want but don’t have….. (In my case thinnyness!) Of course you are going to feel a cavernous emptiness and worthlessness that will be hard to crawl back out of.

I have to admit, I’m a bit of a coveter. I like a good covet. I’ve previously admitted a (now-not-so-secret) morbid fascination with The Kardashians. I love watching their wealth. I know that’s a truly vulgar thing to admit but I looooove seeing their life style. Their perfect make up, their non-moving faces, their pristine, maHoooosive houses, their endless holidays and trips to restaurants, their huge cars, their lovely, straightened shiny hair! It makes me want all their things! I want to have endless holidays and perfect hair and fake skin! It makes me strive to be better disciplined in my eating and exercise, it makes me want to present a smarter appearance to the outside world…If I could tap into just a little bit of their glamorousness….wouldn’t my life just be a teensy bit better?

It’s a common thought process: if I just had a BIT more money, if I was just a BIT better at eating healthy, if I just did a BIT more exercise then then then….

Personally I have been finding it really hard not to wish away the time until my youngest is in full time school. We’re on our knees with childcare fees and every month it’s a financial struggle. So sometimes I can’t help but compare our situation to others who don’t seem to struggle so much financially.

But I’ve recently had an epiphany. Yes I just used that word….but it’s true. I’ve realised, finally, that I might never ever be happier than I am right now. I might be thinner and we will very probably be in a better financial state, but who knows what else might accompany that? We are all getting older, the world is seemingly a bit shakier….. Who knows what could happen? Illness and death are inevitable parts of life and our family won’t escape that. So who cares if you’re rich and thin, then? Right now my family are healthy and happy. We can afford the mortgage (we HAVE a mortgage) and we can eat and drink. I am surrounded by love. I couldn’t be luckier. If my life never gets better than right now then that’s 100% fine by me.

Because compared to families suffering from grief and loss, my life is the epitome of perfect. That comparison is not the thief of joy.

Masses of love to the people of Manchester. And if, you know, you want to like…. Then do just hold those dearest a little closer tonight. XXXXX

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Jess is a wine-addled, social media tart, *feminist and chronic over sharer. She lives in Cardiff with her husband, children (G-11/J-7) and some cats. Went to art school but after graduation got sucked into working for "the man". Now trying to claw her creative way out by fancying herself as a bit of writer. (*Intersectional/trans incl)

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