I remember the first time I heard the quote “Comparison is the thief of joy.” It was right up there with “Expectations are pre-meditated resentments.” They are phrases that stop me in my tracks as bottom line truths, where I experience a moment of suspension as the vibration of the words coming toward me evoke resonance with a vibration that lives inside of me. Comparison is the thief of joy. It only takes, it never gives, and it leaves everyone diminished in the process.

Celebrating Happiness If you’ve not studied the Locks & Keys sutra, it’s one of the few in which Patanjali addresses how to keep your mind and heart clear in dealings with the other humans. The very first lock/key combo is to offer friendliness and lovingkindness to those who are happy. For as obvious as that sounds, it can be more difficult to practice than you might initially think. Consistently meeting others’ happiness and success with delight requires that you put away jealousy, judgement, criticism and any other form of blatant or hidden comparison and simply be in celebration with another’s joy and good fortune. What is your immediate response to others’ happiness? Do you get stuck in the sticky quagmire of you vs. everyone? What would open up for you if you reached in for mutual, reciprocal delight- that if one of us is rising, there is the possibility for all of us to rise?

The Realm of the Unreal It’s impossible to talk about comparison without bringing up social media. Note #1: With few exceptions, people generally just share the good stuff. When they look good. When they feel good. When they are doing something fun or interesting. You rarely see a photo of someone having cereal for dinner. Or when they are climbing out of bed after 2.5 hours of sleep. We have feeds full of the people in our lives alongside people we have never even met who are having fun and feeling good: successful, enjoying life, on holidays, at parties, out with friends, in beautiful places, eating delicious food. This makes it easy to forget Note #1 (that people generally just share the good stuff). This makes it easy to fall prey to comparison and the feeling that everyone else has it, is getting it, is there, and all the other delusions of arriving that we hold most dear. Is it real? No. Is there anything wrong with it? Also no. But it’s good to see what your mind is doing with what you’re viewing. Do you compare the song you wrote at age 12 with your favorite band’s hit singles? Then don’t bother comparing the messy chaos of your life with the curated exhibits of others’ lives. 

This Abundant World  It’s surprising and so unfortunate how prevalent scarcity mindset has become. It’s as if there’s some small and finite amount of abundance (in any/all its forms) available. How does scarcity mindset view the world? If someone else has been the recipient of good luck, good health, good choices, wealth, happiness or whatever, then there’s somehow less or none available for you. Does reading that leave you feeling a pit in your stomach? It should. There’s no better way to shift out of the ick of comparison than to get up close and personal with goodness, greatness and abundance wherever and whenever you find it— as though it’s contagious. Rather than crossing your arms, rolling your eyes or closing your heart, lean in. What if the more you celebrate someone else’s joys and wins, the more likely you are to have them yourself? Because, in truth, as you celebrate, they become yours as well.

A Purpose-Filled Life  In a recent talk with a client who is preparing to launch a new business, she said “comparison kills creativity.” This struck a chord in me, though I’d never considered the idea before. If you believe as I do, that we are all here to expand into our divine purpose, to be fully ourselves, to Self-express in the way only we can for the short time the current of aliveness travels through us, then living your truth and sharing your gifts is top priority. Every moment spent comparing what you do or who you are to someone else is a moment not spent investing in your own happiness, creating your own best life, expressing the magic that is you and is yours alone. In thinking that someone else “has it better” or “does it better” or simply “is better,” you not only withhold the gift of your joy and support but you are further from your own internal space of celebration and creativity. What would it feel like to feed your own creative fire and build your vision for joy? 

Comparison gets in the way of happiness, connection, success, and general thriving-ness as a human. We all fall into it from time to time. And every time we do, it’s so very helpful to notice it’s happening and to engage in inquiry about why it’s happening. Peering into the shadow to see what’s pulling you away from your true Self opens the door to let more light shine in on who and what you most want to be, do, and give to this world. And that, my friends, is what this world needs the most.

In abundance,