Comparison, the thief of joy

All things shall pass but certainly Theodore Roosevelt’s statement “comparison is the thief of joy” made in 1898 is still relevant in 2022.

Have you ever wondered, maybe if you should be in the place of that friend then you would be happy? Or if only you can purchase that designer bag your life would be more meaningful? Then you should read further.


How true is the statement in the new media generation

So far as there are humans on earth, there is an existence of comparison. We are all tempted to look at ourselves in the eyes of the world. In this age unlike before, the spectacles of comparison have increased. In the past, the human race was limited to comparing themselves and their situations to their immediate surroundings.

Today, in a twinkle of an eye with the aid of the new media, we can compare ourselves to people from all walks of life, different cultures, and with different backgrounds. I like to call it a local and international comparison “The pressure is getting worse”.

The introduction of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, and others has made it stress-free to compare our persona and life journey with that of others. The amazing thing is we keep forgetting that people are putting their best foot forward on social media. We are most likely comparing ourselves to an unreal person and situation. This can ruin our lives in so many ways. Our journeys are different and we must be content.


The Negative impact of Comparison

It may seem whoever you compare yourself with has it all figured out but your life could be better off. There could be “vehicle blind spots” you can not see and they themselves are clueless of.

Comparison can make you;



You can be so soaked in the lives of others and become unhappy with yourself. People project themselves to the world in a way suitable to their intentions. We all have reasons why we are signed up for all social media platforms. Business purposes, are to entertain or to be entertained and educate or receive information. We find people who showcase a lavish lifestyle they genuinely can afford or in some cases are sponsored by brands. Just because you are all on the same platform doesn’t mean you should enjoy the same favors or have the same lifestyle. People become copycats and in return become unhappy with their real selves. You might think you are a mistake just because you want to be like someone.


Jealous and Envious

Comparison is the easiest way to become covetous. Gradually comparing yourself with others would make you jealous of their success in life and jealousness has so many health risks.  Heart diseases, cancer, and immune deficiency have been linked to anger. Anger is not only felt when one offends you but just because you feel you are more deserving than another can cause anger. You become very creative about how to tear one down.

People who leave negative comments and body shame people on the internet are said to have these tendencies. Their desire for the lifestyle but unable to afford it builds up jealousy and envy.



Comparison can make you competitive. You can not show up at the Olympics without going through the necessary process to race. You must be equipped for it else you would lose. That is what happens with comparison, you start a race you are not equipped for just to make a point. Over time you will become worn out and fall out as a failure. Meanwhile, you could have observed the race, gone through the necessary preparations to race, and won yourself a medal.


Benefits of Comparison

Comparison is a thief of joy but you can arrest the thief.

Comparing yourself wisely to others who are better than you is a way to be motivated to work harder and achieve more. It gives you self-awareness.

Comparing yourself can also cause you to be more appreciative of your life journey. You become more knowledgeable of the seasons of your life.

Comparison can help you create realistic goals. Knowing you would want to race in the Olympics someday would cause you to work in that line. Training well enough, and engaging in athletic activities make you more resilient and ready for the real deal. If you want to travel as you see on your timeline, then you have work today. Saving vigorously in pursuit of your desires in the future.


Photo: sabasaeed/Shutterstock


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