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Sunday, December 19, 2021

A Modern-Day Plague

"Comparison is the thief of joy." - Theodore Roosevelt

On good days I try my best to live by these wise words. I approach creative endeavors and my passions with audacity, attempting to forget about recognition, reward, legacy. Not coincidentally, on these days I'm also more generous and forgiving to others. After all, aren't labeling and judging akin to comparing? 

When I struggle being mindful and forget how comparison can steal joy, I'm invariably less kind and frequently less happy. On these days, if a creative impulse strikes me, I'm as likely to discard it as put it into the world.

Anyone taken note of current research linking the deterioration of self-esteem in teenage girls to overuse of social media? Theodore Roosevelt's words - uttered almost one hundred years before Facebook etc. was unleashed on us - presciently predicted this modern-day plague. How can young girls - or old men - avoid comparing themselves to others when the number of "friends", "likes", "views" are so ubiquitous? On bad days - i.e. if I dwell too long on one of these poisonous platforms - I feel my own joy dissipating. Create? No way. Enjoy a process rather than a destination? Forget it. Appreciate someone more fully? I can barely muster the grace. 

"Comparison is the thief of joy."  Begin, again. 



  1. 100% agree with you on this. It's so difficult to avoid comparisons...I often fall into that trap when I see someone whose life has been driven by a purpose or has made a significant difference with the years and gifts they were given. And agree regarding the "poisonous platforms". They are a time and soul suck of the nth degree.

    1. Given the somber tone of the post and your vulnerable reply, I'm hesitant to say "thanks for the comment" - feels a little off doing so. But if the post reminded you - even briefly - how pernicious and counter-productive comparisons can be, that's something.

  2. Good morning, Pat. And thank you for another thought provoking blog post. I can recall times when I was much younger, quite clearly at times, of being envious and almost jealous, of things that others had and/or were given. And even in those days - early teens and before - it would last for a moment and then fade, remembering what I had .. what my family had. But I'm not so sure I realized at the time, at that age, what it was that I was doing. As I've gotten older, as I've provided for my own family, I do stop and think about that.
    Social Media is a whole different ball game. One with much different repercussions. Social Media, no matter which one is used, makes it easier for one to compare, to be envious and jealous, allowing the user to do so in an almost anonymous manner, or from an unseen vantage point. But I agree with you 100% that the number of 'likes', etc, has become a measuring stick for acceptance. And although I limit my involvement on social media platforms to specific things, I admit it is nice to see that friends - both old and new - have seen a wish for a Happy Birthday, Anniversary, or, sadly, an offer of condolences. Maybe sometimes the world needs be a smaller place.
    Be well,

    1. Thanks for the comment Bob, aka "anonymous". I especially appreciate your closing sentence. More than once I've also yearned for the days when a library was the agreed-upon place many of us went when we needed information or facts that weren't "alternative".