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  • Writer's pictureRobert Norton

Comparison is the thief of joy

Updated: Jun 24, 2022

When I picked up my 6th grade daughter from competition dance last week, she was awfully quiet.  I glanced in my rearview mirror and she had silent tears running down her face.  

Hey kid, what's going on?

I suck, Mom.  They are all better than me.  Even the seven-year-olds can do their splits better than me.  I look so big and stupid next to them.  I don't belong in competition dance.

My heart ached for her, and to be honest, I felt the strong tug of my own awkward memories from that time of life.  Middle school is usually when we really start looking side to side and over our shoulders to see how we doing, comparing ourselves to others instead of finding joy in our own incremental progress.  And my daughter, who has been dancing for less than two years, is indeed, by any objective dancing standard, the worst kid in the class.

Do you love to dance?

Yes, Mom.

Are you so, so much better than you were at this time last year?

Yeah, I am.

Okay, kid, let's focus on those two things, okay?

When you find yourself feeling like you don't measure up or you haven't earned your seat at the table, it may be time to shift focus.  

Instead of: How do I compare against my peers?

Ask: How do I compare against my former self?

Instead of: Why am I here?

Ask: What can I learn?



 

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