• November 29, 2016

How to Stop Comparison from Stealing Your Joy | Girl Talk Tuesday

Girl Talk Tuesday Comparison is the thief of joy || Fashion styles for women || angela lanter hello gorgeous

How to Stop Comparison from Stealing Your Joy | Girl Talk Tuesday

1024 683 Hello Gorgeous by Angela Lanter

It’s my favorite day of the week: Girl Talk Tuesday.  I love diving in and talking about topics that we girls struggle with.  I’ve been wanting to tackle today’s topic for some time because it’s something I see most every woman in my life deal with: Comparison.

Girl Talk Tuesday Comparison is the thief of joy || Fashion styles for women || angela lanter hello gorgeous

Com·par·i·son (kəmˈperəsən):  The act of representing as similar; to examine the character or qualities of especially in order to discover resemblances or differences; to view in relation to.

We all compare.  We do it when we shop, when we make decisions, when we have conversations…  Heck, when even do it when we date, although we swear we don’t.  Women treat comparison like it’s an olympic sport.  And some of us could medal in it a thousand times over.

There are situations when comparison is appropriate, sometimes even necessary.  But there are also many times when it’s harmful.  Theodore Roosevelt very famously said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”  Oh Teddy, right you are.  I would venture to take it one step further to say that comparison is the thief of much more than joy.  Comparison can also rob you of a healthy body image, security, friendships, self worth…  The list goes on and on.

We women learn to compare at a very young age.  I remember in grade school seeing girls with beautiful, curly hair and thinking, “If only my hair was curly like hers.”  Maybe you didn’t have stick-straight hair like I did, but I can guarantee there are things you can remember your much younger self saying “If only” about.  Maybe it was, “If only I was thin/smart/pretty/funny/outgoing…”

The comparing little girl grows up to become the comparing young woman in most cases.  “If only” my marriage was better, I had a different job, drove a nicer car, my kids were better behaved, I lost this extra 10 lbs…  The “If only’s” get more plentiful with age it seems.  We watched Anne of Green Gables last week and the constant theme was Anne wishing to be beautiful, without her famous red hair.  She wanted to be something, anything, that she wasn’t.

We were all created equal in God’s eyes, but here’s where things get interesting…  God didn’t create all of us the same.  We all are different and unique in our own way.  But we each have our own idea of what “perfect” looks like, and it almost never looks like the person who is doing the defining.  How boring would this world be if we were all looked, thought and acted the same?  There would be no variety, no special gifts or talents.  Holy Stepford Wives.

I’m so guilty of playing the comparison game.  I did it in elementary school and I still do it today.  I have an unrealistic expectations about who I am supposed to be as a person, wife and blogger.  The funny part is, the only person who puts those unrealistic expectations on me, is me.  I see what my peers are accomplishing and it makes me think that I’m slacking.  That’s where I’m wrong.  As Beth Moore (loosely) put it, we can think she (another woman) is beautiful without thinking that we’re ugly.  We can be happy for her successes without feeling like a total failure.  But yet we do.

We see the perfectly photoshopped figures of gorgeous women on the magazine covers and think to ourselves how terrible we look.  Instead, we should realize that no one really looks that way, without the help of a team of professional editors.  We see the perfectly decorated home on Pinterest and feel like an absolute failure because our home will never look that way.  We read about perfect marriages and think there is something wrong with us when we have yet another fight with our husbands.  Do you know the problem with all of this?  It’s that we would’ve never thought we had a problem at all if we hadn’t seen someone else doing things “better.”  That’s the problem with the internet and media in general.  They portray that you’re living this way, but you really should be living that way.  And we take the bait.  We let those images penetrate our thoughts and hearts.  We begin to see the way that others live/look/do things as the right way, and ours as the wrong.  That’s how we fall into the comparison trap.

Before social media, we had to be more intentional in seeking out ways to make ourselves feel constantly inferior.  Yes, we’ve always had the women at work or the gym who have the great figures.  But we didn’t know what every incredible interior designer’s home looked like at the click of a button.  We didn’t have the ability to see these perfect internet moms with their perfectly dressed kids.

So how do you stop it?  How do you get off the wild comparison ride that makes you crazy?  I’m still on it, personally, but I wanted to share some thoughts and practical tips that have helped me in some of my darker moments.

  1. Check yourself.  When the words “If only” (or similar) creep into your mind, stop yourself and think about it for a moment.  When I start on the downward comparing spiral, I try to stop it immediately and change gears.  I don’t want to waste valuable time and energy doing something that only leaves me feeling inadequate.
  2. Stay positive.  If I do find myself comparing and unable to shake it, I try to take control of my thoughts by considering the positive things about me or the situation.  We’re all unique and unique is a great thing.
  3. Do something about it.  There are times when we compare and it’s damaging.  But there are also time when we compare and it should be a wake up call.  If you’re feeling bad about your weight, get up and do something to get in better shape.  Feeling down about your career, take the necessary steps to do something to change that circumstance.  Instead of spending time and energy dwelling on what others have, spend it on achieving the goals you have for yourself.  Dwell on the negatives and they’ll consume you.  Get active and work towards the positives, and you’ll see results.
  4. Remember that comparing reaps no benefits.  You always lose by comparing.
  5. It can destroy relationships, and I’m not having that.  Have a friend or colleague that you secretly compete with?  Guess what…  There’s a good chance you’ll end up resenting that person, if you don’t already.  We see someone consistently doing better than us, compare ourselves and then we begin to resent that person.  We seem to forget regularly that we’re not all given the same gifts, traits or characteristics.  I wasn’t blessed with a beautiful singing voice.  Does that mean I should hate all my friends who can sing?  Of course not.  What we need to remind ourselves in these situations is that there is something we have been gifted with that others don’t have.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the moments when we’re feeling inadequate and insecure (read this post for more on that subject).  It’s so stinkin’ easy to think that the grass really is greener.  But as the saying goes, the grass is only greener where you water it.  So next time you start to compare, stop and think about why you’re doing it.  Is it something you can or should change about yourself?  Or is this a total waste of time and energy.  Don’t allow yourself to travel down the path of unrealistic expectations any longer.  A positive mindset is a choice.  Choose to see yourself for your positives, not for her (whoever she may be) positives.


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42 comments
  • Michelle Johnson November 30, 2016 at 9:07 AM

    Terrific post!! I am totally guilty of this and like you said even more so as I’ve gotten older and social media as increased. I try to think of the positives too when I get down about myself. You have provided excellent tips!! And for the record…I have pin straight hair too and always wanted curly hair! LOL

  • Aisha Muhammed Ali November 30, 2016 at 10:43 AM

    You are so right !
    I used to always compare myself with my classmates. There was a girl in my class that was beautful and popular. I was so jealous at her. She used to always brag about that she had expensive beautiful clothes and she used to always brag about that she and her family was travel to other countrys like spain and france. I my family was not rich so we did not have the money to visit countries like France or Spain, so I got jealous at her.

    But now when I have been starting to read quran and as I am learning about islam, the more I realize and understand that life is a test and that some people are rich and others are poor are a part of God´s test on us. What you said about
    “We were all created equal in God’s eyes,” That is so true !

    Right now I am not jealous anymore. I have learned to appreciate what I got and I do not compare myself anymore with other people. Also I used to look up to hollywood celebrities when I grew up, but now I know they are not perfect people. The hollywood celebrities also have problems and many of them are using drugs and have alcohol issues. Just look at brangelina, everybody was thinking that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie was the perfect couple with the perfect marriage, but they are just human beings and they also have problems, nobody is perfect. We should be happy with our lifes. There are people that are starving in Africa, but we have food and water and should be happy for that and stop comparing and be jealous at other people 🙂

  • Trinity November 30, 2016 at 11:01 AM

    Loved the post today, Angela! I recently discovered your blog and I love it!

  • Erin November 30, 2016 at 12:11 PM

    I try not get too jealous of other people’s lives and their belongings anymore. If see someone driving a mercedes benz, good for them but it wont matter what kind of car they drove when they die. Our materialistic items wont matter when we die. What kind of person we are is what we will leave behind for our loved ones. It would be nice to drive a mercedes I guess, but I am happy with the car I have. Gets me to where I need to be. I see pinterest pics and facebook pics of people’s homes, clothes, statuses about their “perfect” lives and wonder just how perfect it really is? Just because someone posts it online doesnt mean behind closed doors and away from social media that their lives are perfect. Some people put up a mask and only show the world what they want it to see. When really their lives are a mess. So something that may seem perfect really isnt. I think when we spend less time comparing ourselves the happier we will be. If I get jealous of someone, I remind myself of the things I do have. The things we have out weigh what we dont have. Even these celebs dont have perfect lives.

    I always enjoy reading girl talk tuesdays!! Great post! Everyone can relate to this.

    • Angela Lanter November 30, 2016 at 1:23 PM

      Exactly!! There is no such thing as the “perfect life” that is portrayed by so many people online. The problem is when we forget that small fact and allow their picture perfect life make ours feel less valuable.❤️

  • Emily November 30, 2016 at 12:15 PM

    This is so perfect! I definetley had the hair envy as a young girl. I wished I had curly hair and that I had blonde hair haha. Now I like my straight brunette hair 🙂
    And now as I’m older I play the comparison game especially as a blogger wondering how that person got that many page views or that sponsored post etc. It’s hard.
    And a new one for me is being a mom. The comparison game is strong with that and it’s hard to not let it overtake your thoughts but I just focus on the fact that I have a healthy and happy baby!

    Thanks for sharing!
    Emily
    lovepastatoolbelt.com

    • Angela Lanter November 30, 2016 at 1:26 PM

      Thank you, Emily! When we see others achieving the things we are working for, we need to remind ourselves that their achievement is proof that those opportunities are out there for us too.
      I hear so often from Mom friends how the internet makes them feel like they can’t measure up. I’m sure that pressure is overwhelming at times!

  • Katrina Groves November 30, 2016 at 2:25 PM

    What a great post! Just recently discovered your blog as well and love it. Seems so much easier to fall into the comparison trap these days.
    I have the wavy/curly hair, but mine was red hair. I always wanted red hair just like Anne Shirley and my friend Jenny. Lol

  • Ally November 30, 2016 at 8:04 PM

    You don’t know how much this helped me today! I’m so amazed at how God gives me answers and help literally the day I’m feeling down!! Love your blog Angela!! Thanks so much:)))

    • Angela Lanter December 1, 2016 at 9:51 AM

      Thank you, Ally! I’m so happy to hear it helped you. That’s exactly why I put the time and effort into Hello Gorgeous! 🙂

  • Cate Alexis November 30, 2016 at 8:41 PM

    Preach sister!!! What a great post/topic!! Beth Moore is my favorite and I was laughing out loud when you mentioned Anne of Green Gables, that was one of my favorite movies def gonna be watching that this week!!!xo

  • Veronica Delgado November 30, 2016 at 9:27 PM

    Wonderful post!
    Was very blessed by it and came at the perfect time. Have been chewing over this in prayer and this post was a sweet confirmation. Thank you Angela.. many blessings!

  • Kathleen November 30, 2016 at 9:36 PM

    I LOVE this post! It’s so true, and I think we all compare ourselves unintentionally. We’re human and we’re not perfect. But I completely agree that when I start comparing myself, I have to stop myself with the reminder that I am gaining NOTHING by throwing myself under the bus. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, and rather than get down about what we DON’T have, we should be inspired to make a change. Thank you for your realness and honesty!

    • Angela Lanter December 1, 2016 at 11:00 AM

      Thanks Kathleen! In our line of work, it’s easy to get caught up in what we see our peers doing and feel like a failure because we’re not growing like they are, getting the work like they area or whatever (pick your poison). I’ve just had to learn to let my perfectionism go- there will always be someone better at what I’m doing, because it doesn’t matter as long as I’m doing it my way, it’s original to me. I know you probably feel the same stresses! You have such wisdom in what you do that you inspire me constantly. 🙂

  • Julie November 30, 2016 at 11:04 PM

    What a great reminder, especially during the holidays!! Gratitude over comparison for sure! Love your GTT! XOX

  • Vidisha Terdal November 30, 2016 at 11:42 PM

    Honestly, you could not have a perfect timing to post this. Comparing every little thing to someone I believed lives a flawless life is something I have been doing from the past few weeks. Especially when it comes to my weight. I always am like “How is she so thin?!” or “Does she eat at all??” LOL. But thanks. The first step to improving is when you identify the problem. Now that I know where I am going wrong (thanks to you!) I will work on myself. I love the post! Kudos!

    • Angela Lanter December 1, 2016 at 11:01 AM

      Oh girl, we all play the comparison game. I’m just glad that you’re aware that you’re doing it. Now you can dig in and work on being who you aren’t meant to be, not what other people project as perfect. 🙂

  • Julie December 1, 2016 at 1:04 AM

    Loved this post! 🙂 I always love your Girl Talk Tuesday post!!
    I actually have a question, but it doesn’t really have anything to do with this post. I’m just curious – What did you do when you worked as a fraud investigator? I mean, what was your job?
    I really like how you are always so positive! Stay that way 🙂

    • Angela Lanter December 1, 2016 at 11:02 AM

      Thank you, Julie! I worked for a large insurance company and investigated fraudulent car accidents and bodily injury. I loved it! Every day was something different and interesting. 🙂

  • Manté December 1, 2016 at 6:02 AM

    Thanks for this blog Angela. I fall for the comparison trap all the time. We as women all experience it and it is wrong. We are all so different and unique and I feel that I always forget that. So thank you! 🙂

    You always stay positive and inspiring, so never let that escape you.

  • Meliss December 1, 2016 at 9:37 AM

    This was just what I needed to hear! It is soo easy to get sucked into comparing!!! As a busy mom of 3 (including a newborn) it’s easy to beat yourself up over things because you feel you or your spouse are lacking..thanks for always being genuine and for your amazing blog! Love love LOVE it!

    • Angela Lanter December 1, 2016 at 11:04 AM

      Oh girl, I can’t even imagine the pressure that mamas feel nowadays with all these social media stars showing off their perfect children and perfect mothering! Don’t compare. Your babies love their mama for the love you give them, not the unattainable lifestyle that these women project to be so perfect. xoxoxo

  • Melissa December 1, 2016 at 9:37 AM

    This was just what I needed to hear! It is soo easy to get sucked into comparing!!! As a busy mom of 3 (including a newborn) it’s easy to beat yourself up over things because you feel you or your spouse are lacking..thanks for always being genuine and for your amazing blog! Love love LOVE it!

  • Ashley December 1, 2016 at 2:06 PM

    This article was so inspiring, Angela! Especially with the year coming to a close, it’s time to focus on the good! Gotta stop wasting energy on the what could have been and use this energy to get through these last rough weeks before Christmas! These finals aren’t gonna write themselves! Thanks for the constant encouragement!

  • Sheridan December 1, 2016 at 7:59 PM

    Just realized this is the wrong post hahah whoops! Loved this post too though!!

  • Anonymous December 2, 2016 at 9:29 AM

    These words are exactly what I needed to hear right now! SO nice to see women encouraging each other to be the best versions of themselves nowadays rather than trying to compete at life <3 I live for your girl talk Tuesdays, they are always so meaningful (:

  • Alyssa December 2, 2016 at 9:40 AM

    You have an incredible talent for writing! I have never related to words so much until stumbling across your blog a couple weeks ago. As a senior in college about to dive out into the real world, it is so easy for me to always be comparing myself to others and where they are headed on their journeys. It is crazy to me how we can be our own biggest critic and enemy without even needing the help of anyone else to bring us down. It is such a vicious cycle and a life of over-analyzing, getting down on myself, and always thinking I can do “better” is not the kind of life I am striving for. How can we expect other people to show us the kindness that we don’t even show ourselves sometimes? We are doing the best we can, and God gave each of us gifts and talents that we should be beyond thankful for. If I could like this post a million times I would. Sometimes God has a bigger plan for us than we have for ourselves, and he already has our story written for us. I find such comfort in that as well! Thank you for your positive words, you are impacting so many -xoxo

    • Angela Lanter January 5, 2017 at 12:52 AM

      Oh my gosh, THANK YOU! I’m so happy that you’ve joined our Gorgeous Fam!
      You sound like such a wise girl. I love that you are able to take a step back and see when you’re getting down on yourself. xoxo

  • Alec Dadisman December 3, 2016 at 10:32 AM

    Great post! It’s so hard not to compare myself to others’ highlight reels on social media these days! Can you imagine growing up with Instagram, SnapChat, Facebook, etc!? I’m thankful I’m almost 30 and not 13. I’ve learned not to compare myself and worry so much about what everyone else is doing.

    Alec
    IG: alexandra.brant

    • Angela Lanter January 5, 2017 at 12:53 AM

      Thanks Alec! I have a hard enough time now, I can’t imagine having all this social media influence as a teen! You’re totally right, social media is just a highlight reel!

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