“Comparison is the thief of joy.”
I’m usually grossed out by blog posts that start with a quote, so I’ll apologize before I’m even out of the gate here. I can’t help it on this one; I saw this quote on Pinterest awhile back and it stuck with me. I’m dusting it off this week because I need it. There’s some debate as to whether it was said by Theodore Roosevelt or a writer named Dwight Edwards . . . but it doesn’t really matter who said it.
Either way, it’s smart.
I’m going to something called an “un-conference” this weekend. This particular un-conference is called Awesome Camp, and basically, I get the opportunity to sit through a bunch of 30 minute presentations from people who are passionate about what they do. It’s called an un-conference because the speaker schedule isn’t actually set until everyone signs up that morning.
I went last year and found it to be a spectacular experience. I learned about everything from Green Smoothies to Twitter’s use as an important political tool . . . and I walked away filled with the excitement that only comes from hanging out with a giant group of passionate people.
The thing about events like this, though, is that I start listening to the bitchy little voice in the back of my brain named Comparison. When surrounded by a big group of successful people, Comparison starts doing what she does best. Feeling crappy about herself because of other people’s success, or getting just plain snarky.
The other thing is that this conference is local. It’s in Lincoln. The people here are no different than me. A good chunk of the women presenting things are stay-at-home-moms, and a few even have the same college degrees as me. For some reason, Comparison thinks I need to be just as put-together/financially successful/locally famous as the other people there.
Then Comparison gets snarky. Whether it’s because she’s admittedly a little bit jealous, or just plain thinks someone’s boots are stupid, she’s fully capable of creating some nasty thoughts.
Now that I know what to expect of both Awesome Camp and myself this year, I’ve got a short list of things to keep in mind, so that hopefully Comparison won’t even be hopping into the car with me this weekend.
First of all, the sole purpose of my going to this conference is for inspiration and re-energizing. I’m in kind of a mid-winter rut, and I need a good “spirit-refresher” to remind me of why I do what I do.
Secondly, I am not any of those other people. What they are doing is right for them, and what I am doing is right for me. If those people have some great ideas, then I will sure as hell use them (in a completely non-plagiarizing way), and I will be grateful that they showed up.
Thirdly, just because I don’t value something doesn’t mean it’s stupid. I may personally think that “working in Fashion” is ridiculous, but other people don’t, so I should just shut up and learn what I can from them.
Comparison really is the thief of joy. There are so many things that should be truly enjoyed to the fullest (parenting, exercise, karaoke) that lose a little bit of magic the second you start comparing yourself to other people. I know I’m not the only one who struggles with this, so if you’ve got some more tips at shutting up your inner Comparison, I’d love to hear them.
I am determined to slap some duct tape over Comparison’s mouth and stuff her in the closet this weekend . . . and Charlie doesn’t have doorknobs quite figured out yet, so I think she’ll stay put.