Comparison is the thief of joy

Theodore Roosevelt is famously quoted as saying that comparison is the thief of joy.

How right is that?

I’ve been in a weird head space lately which is frustrating as all hell but it’s how I work things out for myself, how I resolve issues I may be struggling with…. retreat into my head, get all broody, moody and contemplative and then head over here and word vomit my thoughts and conclusions all over my blog.

So here goes….

I’ve been struggling you guys. Something about being middle aged in my mid 40’s and having half my life behind me and half my life in front of me has seen me standing at a cross roads and in the process I feel like the struggle stole my voice.

I find myself comparing myself, my work, my blog, my look, my personality, my everything to women around me, women who are, in all honesty, more often than not, a lot younger than me. A lot hipper than me. A lot more happening than me. And because of my comparison’s and my own insecurities, it silenced me. It stole my joy, it robbed me of my story telling ability, it took my confidence and crushed it under one perfect stiletto heel. 

I know this will sound contradictory, but I am a hard arsed people pleaser. I think, like most people, I want to be liked, I want to be popular, I want to be loved by everyone who meets me. Not only is that exhausting, I know that logically it’s also just not possible. And then the contradiction, I also don’t want to give a damn about what anyone else thinks of me, and often times I don’t. See the struggle? See the contradiction? 

It’s also made me realize that I need to be more confident of my own identity. I need to embrace every aspect of me and try to not worry so much about others approval. But that’s really hard for me even though now in my mid 40’s I feel like I have the internal strength to be who I am, without apology, a lot easier than when I was in my 20’s and 30’s. And to be able to do it, to a certain degree no matter who’s watching me. 

The turning point came earlier this week when a few people, unknowingly, tossed comments my way that were massive confidence boosts for me. Comments about who I fundamentally am, comments about what I do and how I conduct myself. 

I want to be seen for me, really me, the inner me that I’ve struggled with and on some levels kept hidden from others. I want to embrace me, authentically me. The hell raising, kick ass, opinionated, unapologetic, fearless me.

And that’s when I realized that I’d allowed comparisons to steal my joy and silence my voice in the process. The only person I need to compete with is me. The only person I need to be better than is me.

The only priority is to strive to be the best version of me I can possibly be. 

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  • Reply kerry sharper

    Oh man Sharon I love this post so much. Comparison is the only sport I participate in and it sucks.
    I am also a hectic people pleaser and it is so damn tiring and unrealistic and even though I know that I still dont stop trying.
    You are amazing Sharon so just do you! 🙂

    July 21, 2016 at 11:57 am
    • Reply Sharon

      Thank you Kerry! It’s hard because I am a bit of a wild card by nature but a people pleaser too so I always feel like I’m letting someone down, even just myself!

      July 21, 2016 at 12:01 pm
      • Reply kerryheathfield

        I hear you. One day I am all like “I love myself, take me or leave me”. The next I’m like “please love me”.

        July 22, 2016 at 8:56 am
        • Reply Sharon

          Exactly! I’m all ….. look at me… look at me… I’m cool, I’m fun… love me.
          And then

          I’m old and washed up and no where near as cool as everyone else! It’s horrid.

          July 22, 2016 at 8:59 am
  • Reply catjuggles

    Oh boy Sharon – you have a wonderful talent to write and get into my head too! You are so spot on with all of this. (And it touches my post a bit yesterday about parents pushing and comparing kids ) That can suck the joy out of you – but I will not let it!

    July 21, 2016 at 12:30 pm
    • Reply Sharon

      Thanks Cat! Sometimes I’m making comparisons and I don’t even realize I’m doing it. It’s such a self sabotaging habit to break. This weekend I sat down to write and the words just wouldn’t flow, I was inspired, I had something I wanted to say, but I couldn’t tell my story and I realized it was because I was comparing myself to other bloggers and not being my authentic self and it is like a massive road block to my creativity and my sense of self and well being. And I do this in all areas of my life.

      July 21, 2016 at 12:32 pm
  • Reply Cheryl Miller

    Amen sister. I think we are all to a certain degree like this. Only difference is you have to balls to tell the world. Good on you. I feel if I compared myself to you I’d fall short!

    July 21, 2016 at 1:46 pm
    • Reply Sharon

      Ha! The irony… how we all feel like we fall short right/

      July 21, 2016 at 3:10 pm
  • Reply Heather

    Ah Sharon. I like who you are. I like the way you write. Your posts have depth. You are not afraid to put it all out there and that is something I admire about you.
    I saw the title of this post and immediately thought of myself and how I am constantly comparing my family to others, who have two kids. And that is killing my joy of appreciating the one I have. I think this infertility thing has really stolen my joy because I compare. In many other areas I am actually ok.

    July 21, 2016 at 8:01 pm
    • Reply Sharon

      I’m sorry Heather, as an infertility sufferer myself, I totally know how you feel. xx

      July 22, 2016 at 8:32 am
  • Reply Kim Robinson

    Sharon, I just love you. You somehow get to hit the nail on the head with your blogs. Brilliant blog which is so very true of me and I am sure most women out there. Thank you for being so inspiring and honest.

    July 23, 2016 at 4:52 pm
    • Reply Sharon

      Thank you so much Kim!

      July 24, 2016 at 1:26 pm
  • Reply panjels

    Sharon, I listened to this 2 part podcast this week and it touched on so much of what you wrote above. I don’t think you’re alone in going thro stages of feeling like this! Not sure if you know Jen Hatmaker? She’s amazing – very real, raw, witty, kind of unconventional, loud and inspiring 🙂
    Here are the 2 short podcasts, if you’re interested… just push past the ads in the first minute of the transcript, to get to her:

    July 26, 2016 at 12:09 pm
    • Reply Sharon

      Thanks for sharing Panjels. I’ll be sure to check out the podcasts.

      July 26, 2016 at 12:12 pm

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