thief of joy

Comparison does not have to be the thief of joy

Comparing your life with that of another can put you in a constant state of unhappiness.

  • Why don’t I have __________ like such and such?
  • She’s achieved so much and here I sit working my tail off and I don’t get half the salary or recognition
  • Wow, his son is at an Ivy League schools while my son sits in prison

With the advent of social media, the feeling of inadequacy compared to others is often compounded.

Those of us whose children suffer/suffered from addiction or mental illness have, at some point, compared our shattered, roller-coaster lives with others whose family life seemed to be humming along perfectly.

However, if you use comparison to trigger inspiration instead of a feeling of inadequacy, it can help you find joy. The key is to recognize the feeling right when it happens to prevent it from taking you into an ugly place, then to pause and think about what you are grateful for in your own life.

At one point, I opened Facebook to see a woman’s post about her child who had cancer and I was floored by the amount of emotional support she was getting. My initial reaction was that I never got anything near that kind of support. Not 5 seconds after I saw that post, I realized how utterly ridiculous that was. I recognized it, called myself on it and thought about strategies regarding how I might be a change agent for others who do need support when a loved one suffers from mental illness and/or addiction.

We can use jealousy to destroy each other instead of bolstering and helping each other. Or we can let that brief pang of jealousy be our catalyst for admiration that inspires us to look at things another way and discover new avenues to reach our own goals.

Gratefulness is a way out of the trap that robs us of joy.

Shortly after Charles died, I was intentional in my pledge not to allow bitterness to rule my world. Good God I could cite multiple examples and reasons to be bitter. But I can cite more examples of things to be grateful for. And that’s an important distinction.

So when you wake up in the morning, think of one thing you are thankful for. It’s a great way to start your day and one way we can enjoy what we have right now, no matter how small.

Published by

Anne Moss Rogers

I am an emotionally naked TEDx speaker, and author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind and co-author with Kim O'Brien PhD, LICSW of Emotionally Naked: A Teacher's Guide to Preventing Suicide and Recognizing Students at Risk. I raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost my younger son, Charles to substance use disorder and suicide on June 5, 2015. I help people foster a culture of connection to prevent suicide, reduce substance misuse and find life after loss. My motivational, training and workshop topics include suicide prevention, addiction, mental illness, coping strategies/resilience, and grief. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now the legacy I try and carry forward in my son's memory. Professional Speaker Website. Trained in ASIST and trainer for the evidence-based 4-hour training for everyone called safeTALK.

8 thoughts on “Comparison does not have to be the thief of joy”

  1. I am so grateful for your blog! I have lived with the silence of being the wife of someone with serious mental illness and now a child with addiction for nearly 25 years. Many times I have wished their illnesses we’re the kinds you could talk to neighbors or co-workers about. Thankfully, I discovered Al Anon and gratitude decades ago. It is so important to have a few safe people to share with and tools to keep going even when the person you love is not doing well. I hope more people here your messages and that we can break the stigma of mental illness.

  2. I’d promised myself, after Curt’s suicide, I would be “Better, not Bitter”. It was my mantra. I arrived on an unplanned bitterness journey, this year. I can’t explain, or excuse it. I just got tired of missing my son. Friends by the 4 year mark are tired of hearing your laments, seeing your tears, and your soul’s call for your child to be here on Earth, again.
    I’m slowly climbing my way back up to the Light.

  3. There is such power in gratitude. I remember when the oncologist gave Mom the news that she had at best six months left to live. While we fell apart, she talked about how grateful she was for the many blessings she had during her life. What a wise choice! Thanks for the reminder.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join the tribe that saves lives

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.