"Comparison is the thief of joy. But the real robber is envy, the one who steals both joy and gratitude." Theodore Roosevelt
We've all heard the saying, "Comparison is the thief of joy." It's like the unofficial slogan of the anti-comparison club. I wrote a whole blog on comparison, remember it? I actually used the same quote as the one above, but missed the whole second sentence. This week I heard the second part of Teddy Roosevelts quote above and really brought some clarity to me. I hope it has the same impact on you! It's not actually the act of comparing that's stealing our joy; it's the sneaky culprit called envy.
You totally know what I'm talking about: You start wondering how your co-worker goes on all those nice vacations. You compare your sales numbers to others on your team, how are they doing so well compared to you? Or maybe you're in the gym, sweating it out, and you can't help but glance at the person next to you, mentally measuring your lifting skills against theirs. How fast did he run that 5K?
Comparison is as natural as scrolling through cat videos on TikTok. Wait… You do this too right? You like cat videos? See… Comparison is everywhere. We do it without even thinking—cars, houses, kids, you name it. It's like a constant mental scoreboard we're keeping, whether we realize it or not.
But here's the kicker: envy swoops in like a joy-stealing ninja. It creeps up when you least expect it, turning your innocent comparisons into a full-blown jealousy fest. You start resenting others for their successes, feeling that burning twinge of anger you'd rather not admit out loud.
It time we shift gears. Instead of letting envy run wild, how about we try something different? How about we turn that jealousy into something positive?
As I wrote in the original post months ago, let’s use comparison as a tool for growth. Instead of resenting someone's success, ask yourself, "What can I learn from them?" Turn that envy into admiration and motivation. Let it fuel your journey, not derail it.
Take a step back when you feel jealous and look inside. Many times you are going to see it’s just your ego talking. The ego has this way of convincing you that you want things you really don’t even want. You really don’t always have to be the best, the strongest, or the smartest. It’s not always easy to admit that, but start reminding yourself. Also remember that you are on your own journey so try not to get too caught up in negative emotions.
Next time you catch yourself comparing, pause. Take a deep breath and ask, "Am I comparing myself or am I envying someone else?" Use this as a springboard for improvement, not a pit of envy. Because, my friend, comparison isn't the enemy—it's the mindset we bring to it that makes all the difference.
We all need something to look forward to in our life. Because isn't that what happiness comes from: faith hope and joy? Progress is power and using others progress to do good things should be our motivation. Let's make comparison our ally in the quest for personal growth and joy. Envy, you're officially on notice!