So recently I’ve been thinking a lot about the subject of comparison and how we all – whether we like to admit it or not – spend so many moments comparing our lives to those of other people.
I think this thought process really ignited for me over the Christmas and New Year period and then I read a post on InTheFrow which inspired me to write down all of my thoughts on the subject.
Christmas is generally known as a happy, cheerful time, a time of love and for spending quality moments with family and friends, however for some people that’s not always the case which can lead to disappointing comparisons and many feeling let down or even ashamed that their Christmases don’t come close.
My parents have not been together since I was around 4 and although I’ve had some amazing times on Christmas Day growing up, I would spend a lot of time figuring out how to split the day between mums, dads and visiting the grandparents, whose house I would go to on Christmas Eve, how long to spend at someone elses house on Boxing Day, where to eat Christmas dinner as to not upset anyone and on so many occasions when I was younger, I would wish for what I thought was a ‘normal’ Christmas. The Christmas my friends all had with their family in one house, spending the day together opening presents and eating dinner then falling asleep to a Christmas film, rather than spending a lot of the day in and out of the car and different parents houses.
Please don’t think that I’m saying my Christmases were bad, as they certainly were not and I am also very aware that many people suffer much worse circumstances than I’ve just described – you might be reading this wishing that you had a huge family to run around seeing on Christmas Day, so in no way do I wish to sound ungrateful – but this is one of the points that I want to make, in that every person compares their situation to another. Even someone who portrays the most perfect and idyllic lifestyle may look at someone else and wish for a part of their life.
I think that for most people, the comparison comes into play a lot in those big life events such as Christmas, Birthdays and Valentines to name a few, but I also think that often it’s the more day to day occurrences that can become the most comparable to others and can leave you feeling totally and utterly down in the dumps.
That 8am scroll through Instagram, seeing the old school friend who’s had the dream wedding, two beautiful kids and the perfect house, or watching as so many people seem to spend their time jet setting across the world, going to festivals and remote islands can all spark the most envious of feelings and leave you feeling like the life you lead is just not quite enough. It has become all too easy for us to compare our journey through life to that of a friend or even a person we have never met.
It took me a while to realise there really is no such thing as a normal Christmas or a normal day and that everyones life is as unique and probably ‘un-normal’ as the next. I only wish I’d have realised this sooner and not let the feeling of comparison harbour in my mind for so long. Everyone has different circumstances and their own life to lead but when we start to compare, this removes all of the joy from our very own special moments and takes away from the beauty in making our memories.
Comparison = The Thief of Joy
The thing to remember is that this is your life and your journey, no-one elses. Whatever path you take, however you spend your Christmases or Birthdays, those special times are yours only and that’s what makes life so beautiful. Comparing your situation to someone else, will only take you away from enjoying your moment and your journey is where true beauty lies.
The fact that there is only one of you means that no-one else could follow the same path through life and in honesty, why would we all want to follow the same path? Life would be pretty predictable and boring if that was the case.
Small amounts of comparison to help inspire and motivate you to achieve what you want can be a positive thing, but when those feelings fester and develop into something not so good it’s time to stop, take a step back and look at everything you do have.
I think what I’m trying to say is don’t waste precious moments of your life comparing it to others.
Be happy, enjoy life and leave the comparison to someone else!