Comparison is the thief of joy
It is soon to be 7 years since my husband died. It’s taken a long while, but I think people would now call me a joyous person. The last few days, however, have been not-so-full of joy. I still miss him. In particular, I miss that he accepted me exactly as I am.
Why do we criticize and judge our fellow human beings and ourselves so much?
There’s a meme floating around right now that sounds pretty familiar to me – maybe you’ll recognize it:
Yep, that’s me. 🙂 So, as I sit on the beach in the beautiful state of Hawaii, with my long cover up, I watch. I watch my kids, living in the moment, jumping off a small cliff into the swelling ocean below. I see my grandkids building sand castles with my daughter and son-in-law.
At a certain point, though, something shifts. I feel the crowds sizing each other up. I hear people commenting on other’s swimsuits, body shapes, surfing abilities, sunburns, etc. I even notice another tourist in jeans like I had on the day before (it made me feel better).
We constantly compare ourselves in everything. We compare our bodies, our yards, our cars, our kids, and even our grief. Heck, does any one else compare how much they eat for dinner, or is it just me? When my sister was gone for a walk for over 2 hours while I stayed behind to watch my grandkids, I joked upon her return, “note to self: don’t walk with my sister.” I think that long of a walk would have killed me. But why can’t I have that much stamina? I should walk like that, shouldn’t I? I should at least want to… right?
Honestly, I thought I had overcome this comparison game years ago. I don’t judge others, and had gotten pretty good at accepting myself. What happened? Why the reversion to a former, less-enlightened self? Why can’t I find the joy I had just a few days earlier?
In my defense, I come by it honestly. It’s part of the human condition – it runs in the family. It’s also the anniversary of my husband’s death, which tends to bring up negative emotions. When I woke up this morning, I also realized that, out of my everyday routines, I had stopped my daily prayer. Holy cow! Bingo! So today, I start with prayer. I pray to God that I’ll have the guts to put on a pair of shorts before I leave Hawaii. My husband wouldn’t have cared (actually, he preferred me with a little meat on my bones 😉 ).
I also pray that, if you are guilty of not feeling like you measure up to others, you will see you are beautiful in His eyes, and you will live your life in the moment and in abundant Joy. I pray that you ditch that cover up and jump in the ocean.