Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Yesterday as we were getting ready to leave for school, I asked my 6-year-old, Miss O, to put on her shoes and then I told the 2-year-old Mr. D I was putting on his shoes. Miss O said, “Wait a minute, you are putting on his shoes for him? What about mine?”

It seems that in a household with two young children, the opportunities to compare are endless. They compare with each other, they compare my actions with other mothers, our rules with friends’ rules. Not to mention that I compare them all the time (hopefully 100% in my head). “Did Miss O do that when she was 2?” I’ll wonder?

In her book Atlas of the Heart, Brené Brown cites research that shows that comparison is more or less ubiquitous. We might all be different, but we share the trait to compare. It’s what we do with the feelings that comparison brings that makes a difference.

So I wrote about it for my post this week on the Pointless Overthinking blog: Comparing our Differences

(featured photo from Pexels)

16 thoughts on “Comparison

  1. “We are all different, might as well enjoy it” . . . Amen Wynne!

    It took decades for this ole Scallywag to finally grasp, accept and truly believe each of us is a one-of-a-kind, totally unique creation of God who delighted when He chose to create us in “… in His own image” . . . free from comparison’s divisive and hurtful standards of who’s prettier or uglier; slimmer or fatter; smarter or dumber; more successful; etc. than me.

    In His 20/10 perfect vision, we are all “Just as I am” impeccably beautiful, and unconditionally loved.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ah, comparison comes naturally to kids. My older grandchildren are twins, so they were ACUTELY aware of ANY perceived differences, and my daughter had to take great pains to make sure neither perceived the other as getting more than the other, but of course, that’s mission impossible in life! Then they’d compare what they had gotten to what their younger sister got, how she was treated etc. It’s exhausting to keep track of so many things!

    Now that my grandson is becoming a young man, he is acutely aware of the perceived differences between how men and women are treated, with him feeling that women have the advantage in life. These conversations are certainly challenging us! One of the latest was when he noticed how there are plus-sized mannequins in the women’s department at Target, while not in the men’s. I told him this is just something more recent, as women had to petition the stores to have more realistic representations of women’s bodies. He doesn’t know how things were in the before days, he’s only seeing what’s happening now, so as the older ones around him we need to give the “historical” perspective of what it was like in “our time”. I encouraged him to be the one to start petitioning the stores for more accurate mannequin representations, but that drew a scowl!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow – I can see how comparison must come into play for twins so much. I’m trying to introduce the concept with my 6-year-old of “do you have enough?” or “do you really need anything right now?” I suppose that’s a lot more complicated for their black and white developing brains to figure out.

      Love that you told your grandson to petition the stores for larger male mannequins! A great suggestion of something wonderful to do with all that passion and comparison power! Those are some lucky kids to have you and your daughter to help interpret the world!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. So good, Wynne. We are all uniquely designed. Celebrating who we are and who others are is so freeing. I think social media leads to depression among teens, because of comparison. It certainly is the thief of joy! You’re wise in what you stated about teaching your children … “I don’t have to teach my children not to compare. I only have to teach them to understand how it affects them.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You have such a good point, Nancy. That social comparison is so hard. And Brene points out that comparison, whether it is done upwards or downwards sparks feelings like shame, depression, low self-esteem unless we become aware of what we are doing. May we all remember that! Thanks for the great comment!


  4. I really like the Roosevelt quote and it’s one that I go back to on a frequent basis.

    Your daughter’s comment made me smile because it is such a natural and healthy part of growing up, but also one we wish we could shield our kids from. Ditto the playground incident she had with her peer and the monkey bars.

    Even as in my 40s, I sometimes fall into the trap of comparing myself to others too but like the Brene Brown story about the swimming, we thankfully have the skills as we get older to refocus our gaze into our own lane.

    And lovely guest post too, Wynne!

    Liked by 1 person

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