“Comparison is the thief of joy.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt
Have you ever used others as your measuring stick—holding your accomplishments, your looks, your job, your spouse, your kids, your house, your faith, your life up next to theirs to see where you stand in comparison and how you “measure up?” Or, perhaps, there have been times when you’ve felt criticized or diminished for your own successes because others were using you to measure themselves?
In his book, No Man Is an Island, Thomas Merton says “…when we are truly ourselves we lose most of the futile self-consciousness that keeps us constantly comparing ourselves with others in order to see how big we are.” If we offer acceptance–to ourselves and to others–in the place of comparison, then harsh judgment can be replaced with enjoyment and even delight. Acceptance is the antidote for comparison because one cannot accept and judge at the same time.
We can choose to lay down our measuring sticks, be truly ourselves, allow others to do the same, and take hold of joy.