Comparison: Thief of Joy

by | Feb 28, 2024 | Family Life, Marriage, Parenting, Society, Uncategorized

“Comparison is the thief of joy.”

“Comparison is the thief of joy!”  heard this phrase for the first time in college. For most of my sophomore year, I had to watch all my friends in leadership roles I didn’t have. My friend group was part of several Catholic Student Association organizations that worked in liturgical ministry and retreats. In our large Catholic Student Association, there were close to sixty leadership roles.

It was hard not to feel like I was “less” than my friends. They were running retreats, coordinating Mass, being called on and looked up to. I wondered what was “wrong” with me. Little did I know, I was one person jealous of many others. But so many of my friends were jealous of me.

Comparison takes us away from ourselves.

While I wondered why they got to do more exciting jobs, they wondered why they weren’t in relationships. I started dating a guy my first semester of college and got to marry him. Most of my friends went four years without dating and remain unmarried. I wanted to be a leadership member and didn’t enjoy ministry as much as I could have. My friends wanted relationships that looked like mine, and never had them.

Comparison is a thief, taking us away from ourselves. We remove our freedom to live our own lives when we dabble in comparison. Someone else will always have what we want, what we desire. Whether it’s a different path, outcome, combination, etc., we can always find another person who has it “better”.

If you’re reading this blog, you’re likely engaged or married. Please, fight the urge to envy those who had easier engagements. Don’t be jealous of people who have children sooner. Especially do not look at a friend’s marriage and say, “I want mine to be like yours.” If you see a life that is good and admirable, strive to orient yourself toward it. Recognize the beauty you want to imitate. But do not compare your life to another’s and let that comparison steal your joy.

Admiration and recognizing a good we desire is a virtuous thing. Comparison brings envy and jealously and opens doors to an unfulfilled life.

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Michelle C. Martin

Michelle graduated from Texas Tech University with her husband, Joshua, in May 2021 and married him in June on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She has a degree in Communication Studies and has loved growing in knowledge of healthy and authentic relationships during her time in college and adulthood. Michelle and Joshua currently reside in Lubbock, TX where he works as an architect and she loves life as a stay-at-home wife and mother to their children, Peter and Cecilia.

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