“Comparison is the thief of joy” – Theodore Roosevelt
Comparison is a thief.
It is destructive.
It can almost be classified as self harm when we compare our lives to those we envy.
How do we fight our need to compare? How do we really know what we want for ourselves?
How about we just say “NO!”
No to comparison.
No to random, pressurized goals.
No to the world’s promise that 24 hours and a date change will bring a happier, healthier, more successful you.
How about saying “No” to mindless social media scrolling, reactionary shopping sprees, and to endless obligations that make you feel resentful.
I am guilty of comparison just as much as the next person. I belong to many social media groups and spend more than enough time looking through a narrow lens at other people’s lives.
I am not proud of this.
We are connected to everyone else’s stories by a miraculous unseen connection, and yet we still can’t really connect. So instead, we compare.
And we feel smaller than we really are… And we long for something more…
Scrolling through social media (and all of its “genuineness”) is like visiting Las Vegas. All we see is the brightly lit highlights and headlines without seeing the side street shadows and subterfuge.
We are inundated in carefully constructed glamour, live shows, and the $6.99 prime rib “all you can eat” buffet.
It looks delicious, sounds enticing, but at the end of the day… It’s a little too much.
Forget prime rib. Maybe what we are really craving is soup. Maybe what we really need is to turn inward and take inventory of what is stocked in our own pantry.
As part of the military culture, we often find ourselves living in a comparative world that we did not create.
Promotion lists, command lists, school lists, housing and duty station lists all circle our world and drive decisions based on comparison. Even the most balanced milspouse can find themselves struggling to make the best of what they have when they are well aware of what is left on some list…somewhere.
This is the side effect of having to rank and choose things that range from living in the tropical paradise of Hawaii or the Bavarian bliss of Germany, to living in the isolated desert of California or in the humid swamps of Louisiana.
We know what is on the lists and even after careful scrutiny and painstaking decision-making, we are often faced with our lesser choices.
So, how do we love and accept what we have now? How do we truthfully set goals for improvement that are not influenced by comparison?
Maybe we need to spend less time checking in with everyone else and more time embracing what we already have.
Embrace the NOW.
Embrace the place we are standing.
Embrace the strength from being firmly planted.
Maybe we need to not move until we have our bearings.
Not move until we know what we really want for ourselves.
Not scroll just to scroll and, instead, be purposeful with our social media usage.
Lets not give into society’s and the military’s “lists of desires” and really be where we are without comparison.
Let’s CREATE something better for ourselves.