39 Responses to “Choose Joy over Comparison”


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  1. I reverse compare, which is probably as bad – I judge people for spending money in ways I consider to be silly and competitive (such as buying expensive cars they can’t afford, or buying bigger houses just because their friends are). I really should just focus on my own life and let everyone else get on with theirs.

    • Courtney Carver

      I think when we are most judgmental about other people’s habits, we are actually examining our own in one way or another. It’s great that you have that awareness so when you find yourself thinking about it, you can shift gears.

  2. Great insights Courtney! Coincidentally, I’m currently working on a post about keeping up with the Joneses. :)

    It seems like I go in cycles with this concept. I’ll go for a good stretch of time without comparisons and then BAM! I wake up one day to an overcommitted second grader that has to rest in bed for almost a week because his defenses were so low he came down with multiple sicknesses. And you know what? He didn’t sign himself up for three extracurricular activities. I should have said no, but he wanted to be with his friends…and I didn’t want him to feel left out…excuses, excuses.

    Now we’re scaling back his commitments again. I’m pretty good at keeping MY commitments in check, but I need to work on not letting my eight-year old sign up for too many activities as well.

    • Courtney Carver

      I have had many moments as a mom where I was pushing when I didn’t want to be. We want the very best for our kids, but sometimes forget what “best” is. Hope your little one is feeling better soon!

  3. Hi Courtney,

    This really hits home. I think there are many ways that comparison can also be a subtle factor in our life. I’m constantly bemused and sometimes captured by the way blogging entices us to compare ourselves to other bloggers. It makes far more sense to focus that energy on being the blogger *you* really want to be. Thank you for this bold reminder!

    • Courtney Carver

      Sandra, I think it’s like that for all artists, but when we truly get lost in our own work, that’s when the magic happens. With your beautiful writing, I am sure you have experienced that.

  4. Alison

    I totally agree – especially with the kids. Moms are suppose to be encouraging to each other, but sometimes it does feel like a competition. How many camps is little Johnny going to? What did Suzie get in math this year? etc….. ugh! Very frustrating.

    This year I did accomplish one easy organizing task in my home with the never ending pieces of paper / artwork that comes home from school.

    Check it out – give it a try!

    Take care and have a wonderful week!

  5. It’s almost uncomfortable reading this! You’re so right, focus on you — what you have, things you love, people you adore — and don’t worry about how others spend their time/money/life.

  6. Anne

    Thanks for this post—-it affected me profoundly as the issue of comparing my life and situation to others is a problem for me. I grew up in a home presided over by a perfectionist father, and I never felt I was good enough. Plus I’ve dealt with being overweight and eating issues most of my life which hasn’t helped. Again, thanks for this post—-it has given me something valuable to think about and act upon!

  7. What a great reminder. It’s amazing how it creeps back in ever so slightly when we feel like we’ve got it under control. Thanks for the great post!

  8. Wow! This really resonates with me and is popping up at a perfect time. I’ve been thinking I’m missing the marketing job I gave up, starting to think about education for my toddler and stressing about how I’ll look at a schmancy wedding we’re going to this fall… such a wonderful reminder of what I’m trying to be about. Thank you!

  9. Lovely timing. I’ve been feeling in despair about whether I am doing enough in the world. This reminded me that taking each day as it comes is a more helpful way of thinking about this than seeing myself on some long-term grand mission. I was comparing myself to others who seem to be doing so much more. Time to redirect my energy.

  10. Joy Martin

    Just wanted to say how much I appreciate your blog/posts. It’s so funny how God works all things together… my husband and I just bought a house for $8,900 — a total fix-me-upper that my husband has been able to completely make into our “amazing little cottage” (my little name for it) . We’re simplifying in a big way… minimizing … living on less… finding ways to make the “small” work in “big” ways to breath life into a under-resourced neighborhood and we couldn’t be happier ! Your articles are right in line with where we are right now and it couldn’t be more perfect timing. Thank you ! Thank you !

    • Courtney Carver

      Joy, I’d love to see pictures of your amazing little cottage! Please keep me posted on how it’s going. It sounds wonderful.

  11. I love this phrase, “Dress to enjoy your day, not so that others can enjoy you.” Thanks for this amazing post Courtney.

  12. Nancy S

    Applause! Applause! Applause!

  13. It’s true. There will always be someone with more than you. And if that’s the standard by which one judges them-self,they will never be satisfied. People can drive themselves crazy worrying about this kind of stuff.

    Instead, we get to experience joy when we follow the beat of our own drum and do what makes us happy!

  14. This is such a great post Courtney! Too often, I compare my appearance and body image to others but I only hurt myself in the process. I love the idea of choosing joy. I think that’s going to be my goal everytime a negative thought sneaks in. I am going to work on focusing on the good because focusing on the bad isn’t helping anyone.

  15. Talia

    What a great post! Comparing is such a killjoy! Too often, I compare myself and my life to others. What I should concentrate on more is gratitude for the amazingly blessed life I have!

  16. Lammie

    It’s nice to read that it’s ok to be different, to choose your own path and teach your children to do the same. It’s not always easy, but it makes me glad to be alive. Sure, I get jealous every now and then, but I know I do right by me. and my kids. Thanks for reaffirming that I’m not being silly at all.

  17. love this line: Shoes that squeeze your feet and jeans that cut off the circulation in your thighs aren’t joyful.

    made me laugh.

    although i’m not a heels type of girl, i do suffer from comparison especially now as i step into a new career realm. i feel inadequate and often like i’m not doing enough. the magic comes in when we realize that there’s enough praise, joy, love to go around. a friend of mine made a nice analogy: “Stars don’t compete. They don’t look at the star beside them and pale with feelings of inadequacy. And only together, they light up the whole sky.”
    thank you for the post.

  18. Such a great post, and much needed reminder. I know comparison is not a good thing but so often it’s just something you catch yourself doing without even realising. See also: facebook stalking people you used to know 10 years ago, realising they have an awesome life (according to fb), feel terrible about your own lack of life.

    Much better to (try) focus on and be grateful for what we have.

  19. Shannon

    There is a saying that I read years ago that went something like this…”Comparing yourself to others will either make you feel vain or bitter. There will always be people better off than you but also people worse off.”

  20. I was just thinking yesterday about how, almost as a reflex, I make a mental judgment of just about anyone who catches my eye, for good or bad. And I was thinking about how you can’t just get rid of a bad habit, you have to fill the vacuum it leaves with something else. I am going to try to train myself, when I catch myself judging, to say instead, “God loves him/her, and wants the best for him/her.”

  21. Hi Courtney,

    Great stuff! Thanks for this post. I definitely think we compare ourselves too much to others, especially in our modern culture. This is a sign of a sad soul, one that only finds strength in competition and winning the race. The problem with trying to win the beautiful/successful/rich/popular race is the benefits of meeting these goals are shallow and fleeting. When we work on finding JOY instead of popularity or success, however, we are nurturing our soul in a deep and lasting way.


  22. Eva

    This really resonates with me! I’ve been thinking about comparison and running the mantra “compare and despair” through my head. Glad I came across this post.

  23. Kat


    Thanks so much for your ever beautiful insight. I REALLY loved that last paragraph – how lovely! And I am LOVING the morning routine microcourse – Thank you!

  24. Alisa

    Courtney – so much of what you write resonates so deeply with me, my background and my path forwards, so I would like to thank you; 1 – for being so honest – it’s a bit like you’re reading my inner thoughts (spooky) and 2 – for writing it all down so beautifully.

    Comparison is one of my downfalls, and I’m working towards building gentle curiosity and simple acceptance of people. Questioning my own judgements is part of that. They aren’t always wrong, but they aren’t always right either, and how important is it REALLY that my colleague has that gorgeous pair of $500 shoes?? They look great on her, but I would never wear them! Silliness, for me to spend my time thinking of it, so it is nice to start to let that go, but there is a lifetime of conditioning and it will take time.

    I’ve just started my journey of simplification, and the relief, clarity, calmness and extra time that it brings already is wonderful. It is lovely to have sources of inspiration like your blog to keep me energised.

    Thanks again for your lovely insights and thoughtfulness.

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