Kicking Comparison in the Ass

JANUARY 20, 2013

Photo: Emily Long

Editor’s note:

We’re thrilled to be posting another piece from our girl Janah!  I can’t think of a person whose experiences more perfectly define Quarterlette.  She made the brave decision to leave a long-term relationship and dream-turned-nightmare job behind to reconnect with herself and find out what happiness really meant for her.  In her new career as a college admissions counselor, she gives guidance for a living.  We’re so happy that she’s willing to dispense a little quarter life advice on the side as well. Janah’s here to help all of us quarterlettes figure things out while she’s doing the same herself. Enjoy!

We’re all guilty of it. That moment you flip through Facebook and find your high school’s version of the Mean Girls character, Regina George.  You start stalking her recent status posts:“Regina George has been promoted to XYZ position.”

“Regina George has posted photos from her fabulous tropical vacation in the Bahamas.”

“Regina George is now engaged to some guy that looks like a contender on The Bachelor”

And slowly you begin driving yourself crazy – “Why her?? Why not me?!”   Suddenly you’ve been hit by the nasty bug that spreads even faster now in this viral day and age…comparison.

With even more access to the private lives of friends, peers, “frenemies”, ex-boyfriends, and even celebrities, it’s hard not to catch the Comparison bug every so often.  Theodore Roosevelt had it right when he said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”  So how do we stop stealing our own joy and start kicking comparison in the ass?  Here are a few ideas:
  • Appreciate what you have and forget about what you don’t. When I’m feeling down on myself, I always go back to counting my blessings. No matter what you’re going through at the moment, there’s always something to be thankful for. However, when I’m in a really bitter mood I sometimes I have to count them backwards. Example: “Ughh I hate paying bills!” turns into “Thank goodness I have a job that pays the bills” and so on and so forth.
  • Celebrate your accomplishments, big and small. Who cares if Regina George seems to have just landed her dream job? Think back over your own milestones. Sometimes they are big things like completing a marathon or getting a raise, but often it’s the little things we overlook – receiving a compliment, getting recognized for a project you worked on, getting asked out on a date, getting a fabulous new haircut. Everyone has a different idea of what success is. Don’t let society’s definition of success discourage you from celebrating your own. Having trouble remembering some of your recent accomplishments?  Try Facebook stalking you for a change!  It’s a great reminder of awesome things you’ve recently done and full of positive affirmations from people who care about you.
  • Embrace your unique traits. “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” Dr. Seuss knows what’s up!  Your friends love you because of your unique combination of love for bad chick flicks, lack of knowledge on hipster music, obsession with Christmas, and strange capacity to remember every one of Jennifer Lopez’s ex-boyfriends/husbands. Think about it, you are one of a kind and people love you for it. If your friends and family accept and love you for all your quirks, there must be something pretty awesome about you – embrace it!
It’s very human of us to look to others while we are trying to figure out our own lives, sometimes it can even motivate us or inspire us to do better, be healthier or be kinder. It’s the excessive and unhealthy comparison we have to look out for. It can be hard to remember, but remember everyone around us is on her own path and we often have no idea what she’s gone through to be where she is today.

A quote from Max Ehrmann’s poem Desiderata has always stuck with me.

“…If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.”

You may still get hit with the Comparison bug every now and then (it’s definitely normal), but as you become more comfortable with your own individual journey, you will get better at not looking to the successes and failures of others to measure your self worth. The next time your version of Regina George posts something new and exciting on Facebook, take a step back to appreciate, celebrate and embrace your own awesome life.


  • DAL 5 years ago

    Very spot-on and I love the Dr. Seuss quote!

  • Janah 5 years ago

    Thank you! And yes, Dr. Seuss totally has it right :)