I love the middle of the year, there’s something invigorating about the chance to start afresh. Today, as I was eagerly flicking through the pages of my 2017 diary, I came across a quote that confronted me; ‘Comparison is the thief of joy’ (Theodore Roosevelt). It really stopped me in my tracks and had me instantly reflecting on the subject of comparison.
My thoughts raced back to a time when I was approaching my 30th birthday and experiencing a self-confidence dip. I had been regularly comparing myself to others, desiring to be more like them and at the same time wondering what was wrong with me.
There was one person in particular that frustrated me, my older sister. She was so outgoing and full of productive energy, able to power through the days, and seemingly never needing much of a break. In contrast I was the introvert, having bouts of productive energy, but needing my space and reflective time. I didn’t feel like I measured up.
It was my beautiful mum who listened as I brought to light my thoughts and feelings of inadequacy. She gently encouraged me to read a book about the four personality types by Florence Littauer called ‘Personality Plus – How to Understand Others by Understanding Yourself. It was so helpful to discover that there was a logical explanation why my sister and I were such opposites. This new knowledge did not make me feel boxed in or limited to a personality type, quite the opposite, it allowed me a new sense of freedom. I could embrace who I was, and begin to grow and flourish in my own direction rather than trying to be a half-hearted copy of someone else, always struggling to keep up. It also allowed me to see my sister and others like her, in a totally new light, celebrating our differences, rather than being jealous of them.
In today’s online world of social media we are faced with daily opportunities to compare ourselves. As I scroll through the feed it catches me out every now and then, I can suddenly experience feelings of lack rather than contentment, as comparison creeps in. Thankfully I’ve learnt that on the whole these posts are the ‘highlight reels’ of people’s lives, not their everyday reality. Wisdom leads me to limit the amount of time I spend there and instead choose to do what keeps me inspired and contented. I keep my focus on learning and growing as a person and investing my time, love and energy into those around me.
So, I encourage you, lovely reader, to celebrate who you are. Find out what makes your heart and soul feel energized. Embrace your uniqueness, run from comparison and hold on to your joy.