Don’t Let Comparison Steal Your Joy


I’ve been thinking about this quote (most often attributed to Theodore Roosevelt).

I suppose we have all heard talks, watched videos or read FB posts addressing this very thing. And usually the speaker is encouraging the audience to not compare herself to other women. But I want to look at things just a little differently. I want to encourage you to not compare yourself to who you THOUGHT you would be by now.

Are you a list maker like I am? Remember when you were 10 and you made a list of what you wanted to do and who you wanted to be when you grew up? I did this at age 10, age 15, and again at age 20. My list evolved as I grew older. When I was 10, I wanted to be a writer, a detective and an actress. I was certain I could accomplish all three with no problem. A-hem. (As a side note, I once was in a play portraying a writer who was called upon to solve a mystery. It’s a shame when you peak in the eighth grade. But I digress . . .)

At age 15 my list began to revolve around who I was going to marry and which university I wanted to attend. Now, when I think of that list, I laugh heartily because I neither attended that university, nor did I marry the type of man I described on that list. Then there’s the list I made at age 20ish. I still penned the same types of things as when I was 15, but it was certainly different. For some reason, I keep going back to that list. Since I have accomplished only a few of those things . . . I tend to think of myself as “less than” I should be.

Am I “less than”? Not at all. And (even if you have done nothing on your list,) neither are you, dear reader.

As we mature, as life throws us curve balls, as our children become our focus, and as our faith and understanding deepens, our priorities often do need tweaking. I’m not saying to abandon your list entirely. I am merely suggesting not letting the items on your list take away the joy of who you are now. Don’t compare yourself to the person you thought you would be when, at the time, you had no idea you would be where you are today. Give yourself permission — the freedom — to be who you are without sadness or self reproach. Decide to be joyful because of, or in spite of, your circumstances. Still want a list? Then, have it include who you are and what you are doing now, only this time, make goals of being better at those things. And then, if you must, go ahead and add the other things like owning a pony, going to clown college and being the first female astronaut on Mars.

Oh, is that just me? A-hem.




Jenny is a Northeast Ohio native who relocated to Council Bluffs in 2012. She is a single mom homeschooling her three teenaged children, Austin, Elliana and Jonathan. Her background is in Secondary English Education and Theatre. While homeschooling takes up a majority of her time, you may find her buried in a book, crocheting, working her home based business ( or eagerly writing YA and children's books. You can also learn more about her wonderfully ​quirky little family and her thoughts on her ever deepening faith through her blog, notes of jubilee ( where she shares the joys of everyday life as a mother and various product reviews.


  1. Jenny, each of your posts provide me with peace. I never thought of how damaging it could be to compare yourself to who you thought you’d be, because often times you’re way better off being who you ARE! Loved it!

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