How Comparison is the Thief of our Happiness, Excitement, and Joy

How comparison is the thief of our happiness, excitement, and joy? Some of the feedback I got from some people I talked to was really mind-blowing because, even as adults, we start to see how that is true. How is that true for us? The other side of that, though, is, when is comparison good as a measurement tool? We’re looking at the cost of things when we’re buying our kids’ clothes or anything in our lives compared to what we’re spending, so we can really see the value in what we’re purchasing. Sometimes comparison is good when we want to see what level we want to get to.

When we’re looking at our kids’ favorite sports, like soccer, we look at Messi and Ronaldo. He’ll look at them and see how they play, and he’ll be like, “I want to be like that.” So there’s a comparison there. It’s actually pulling him towards what greatness looks like to him. When does it steal that excitement? When does it steal that joy or happiness? It’s when our kids are looking at social media. They’re looking at themselves in the mirror, and they’re not excited about what they see because they see this other girl who’s the same age who, through their filters, looks skinnier, she looks better, and her hair is different than theirs. It’s a possibility that they’ll never reach that. It keeps them from feeling good about what they have. It keeps them from feeling gratitude. So when that does happen, let’s just talk about what you can do when you start to see how comparison takes away from the happiness and excitement within them.

Start to ask them things like, “What would it look like if you were at that level?” or “If you looked like that, what would it mean to you? What would it feel like to you? Would it change anything in your life? Would it change your friends? Would it change the conversation you have? Would it change how you view yourself in the world socially? Would it change what you do in your classroom?” and “How would it change and affect the person you are inside if you looked exactly like that person? Do you know anything about that person? Do you know if they’re a nice person inside? Do you know if they’re compassionate, if they have empathy? Do you know if they want to do things for other people, or is it just about themselves? Do you know if they’re nice or if they’re mean?” You know nothing about that person.

What if that person’s looking at your pictures on Instagram and they’re saying, “Gosh, I wish I was just like her. Look at how beautiful she is. She has straight hair; she has brown hair. Gosh, my hair is so blonde and curly, I don’t like it.” Or maybe she’s seen your videos that you’re doing, and she sees how sweet and beautiful you are from the inside of what you are talking about. It makes the outside of you look gorgeous. And that same girl who you’re looking at and comparing yourself to—maybe she’s doing the same thing about you. It gives our kids that opportunity when we are curious for them to go deeper and not see things on a surface level. What are our kids actually comparing themselves to, and what is keeping them stuck in versus keeping them growing and becoming better?

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