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Comparison: The Thief of Joy

    I have always aspired to be the “glass-half-full” type of girl. The girl who is overtly bubbly and radiates positivity. The girl who is always fun to be around, even when she’s having a rough day. The girl who seems to be living life to the fullest.  We all know this girl, and we all want to be her.

           Yet, here is just where the problem lies. We are all stuck in a rut of comparison. This is not only prevalent in our daily interactions with others. The inability to escape comparison dwells in social media. It can be intoxicating to look on Instagram and VSCO and see how others are experiencing day-to-day life. They always seem to be enjoying it in a more exciting manner. The app-filtered world of adventuring, partying, and artistic expression is often labeled commonly as “goals.” Yet, who made these goals? Who says you must have traveled the world, met celebrities, and be a size two to be perfectly happy?

Theodore Roosevelt was correct in asserting that “Comparison is the thief of joy.” It creates a deep dissatisfaction within ourselves. Our own achievements and celebrations will never suffice when we compare them to those who have thousands of followers and get sponsored by companies. Instead, I want to take a step back from comparison. I want to appreciate my life just as it is. I don’t want the perfect world I see on Instagram. I want my day-to-day life as it is. Eating pizza with my best friends isn’t ever going to be eating pizza in Rome. Buying a new dress from Old Navy isn’t ever going to be buying a new dress from J Crew. Yet, I’m beginning to see they don’t need to be.

More often than not, we only see the life portrayed on social media. That life that seems ideal, in actuality, probably is not. I remember reading a blog once written by a girl who had tens of thousands of followers on Instagram, traveled, and seemingly had it all together. This blog post addressed her personal struggles to maintain that image, and how it was, in fact, so far from the truth. Her life was more than fancy dinner dates and nice clothes. She had her own struggles. We all do, and I really forget that.

Each day, with this in mind, I want my own life to be my own “goals”. It may not seemingly be as glitzy or exciting: it probably isn’t. I don’t think I would want it to be, in actuality. I am so satisfied with the small things I find joy in. I don’t need the large things. “Goals” for me is doing well on an essay, having a nice cup of tea at night, hiking Mt. Philo, eating crepes in Burlington, spending time with my family and friends, and buying pretty sunflowers for my room. That’s all I need.


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