May 4, 2013

Comparison is the thief of joy







People in Africa are so full of JOY. What is this chick talking about? Yes, I've been there. I've seen it. Its contageous - Its everywhere.

Why?

They are living in huts and brick. No A/C, no heater. They bathe outside with small buckets of water - that they pump by hand. The parents give their children the mango seed to suck the rest of the sweetness off. The kids share it with their friends. They play with tires, sticks, rocks, trash. They grow their own food, working hard laboring over it for months. In fact, the little girl in the "O" up there suffers from a kind of head rot. (gross, I know.) She is literally rotting alive, due to the ignorance regarding hygiene.

To these people, these are blessings.

Woah.
You feel bad now, right? Selfish, right?

Why? Comparisson. We all have this inner voice that tells us "Well you have a home, a beautiful one, and a car, food, great clothes, toys and gadgets in excess." It continues "You have time to paint your nails, get a froofy coffee with friends. Waste an hour or two on this brilliant invention called the internet."

We are taught to compare all the things that we have to people who have less. Eat your food because "starving kids in Africa don't have any." The idea is that you realize, Hey - I'm pretty fortunate. STOP it.  Stop it right now. There will always be people more blessed than you. There will always be people with less than you. That's not the point. Find your own joy in what YOU do have. You have something to be grateful for regardless of the "standards."



Day 4/31 of blogging EVERY DAY IN MAY.

24 comments:

  1. Powerful quote and post! You are so right!!! Comparing is such an awful thing. Our society can be so disgusting and presumptuous.

    I heard a story once, I think on a podcast but I cannot remember which one, about a Westerner who went to one those of tribes in Africa and picked out two men to teach how to work, farm, eat, etc. Once the Western did, he sent the two men back to their tribe to teach them what he had taught them. A year later he returned to see that what he taught them was not being practiced. He couldn't understand why they went back to their old ways because he felt his way was so much better. That tribe survived for centuries with how they lived and they experienced no such thing as Depression, serious disease, and competition and everyone was happy. Why change something good, right? You'd think we'd learn from such an environment but instead we always question why don't they want to live like us. Such a shame sometimes.

    Sorry for the book;)

    Cheers,
    Alyson

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, Its great. And you're so right.
      I ended up learning a lot more than I taught while in Africa.
      Its sad to know that our society is so closed minded when it comes to things like that.

      I appreciate you taking the time to read and respond so thoughtfully.

      Delete
  2. What a great post. I think it's so easy to get sucked into the trap of comparing, and honestly I think it can help me put things in perspective sometimes, but you are right that we should just look plainly at what WE have because then we don't compare up or down. It definitely seems like the more complicated and connected we get, the less grateful we become and the more we want, want, want. Freakin' pinterest.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're so right!
      Blogging and Pinterest definitely have big parts in our comparing. Its so hard to see past what people post and find the real person, you know?

      I'd never thought of that. Thanks.

      Delete
  3. great quote. why is it that we all forget how fortunate we really are sometimes. we think we are are hard done by but thats just not true.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know why it is. Its frustrating.
      Especially because here, in the US, people are SO fortunate in almost every area of their lives. We, however, seem to complain the most.

      Delete
  4. wow. that's the deep truth.
    I really like this- very inspiring words britt!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad there was something in there for you Aishah.
      I was just wondering this the other day, how do you pronounce your name? Is it like the continent Asia, or some completely different way?

      Just curious.

      Delete
  5. I love this so much. Especially how you designed it! I think this is a big part of why we are so happy in the woods. We don't got nothing and everyone we're with don't got nothing (southern grammer) and you all look and smell disgusting.

    And we are all truly happy. Funny thing, comparison.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm from Oklahoma, and double negatives are welcome here.
      People who get dirty together are happy together.
      My husband and I always say that when we're camping.
      It just feels nice to not care.

      Delete
  6. Hey Britt... I think this is such an interesting take on this quote. I think that... I like the end of this post. About how there will always be people with more or people with less, but... it's important to just be grateful for what you have. I've struggled with this, from both ends... feeling entitled and also feeling guilty. But it's like: just be grateful. :) Thanks for sharing.

    Also: where did you go in Africa? :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too. I've been on both ends, and neither feel great.
      I went to Malawi. Spent most of my time in Lilongwe, the capital.
      Have you been?

      Delete
    2. I haven't been but I want to go someday!!!

      How long were you there?!?!?

      Delete
  7. You know I never even thought about this. I compare myself to others more than I should and I feel silly about it, but I never saw this as a life lesson. We should be grateful for our blessings and appreciate what we have. If we can help anyone with what we know or have and/or they can help us then that is an added bonus. Thanks for sharing :) xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No problem,
      I only write this, because its always been something I've struggled with. I had a really pretty girl with me in Africa, and I struggled even then with competing with her.

      Its really a sad cycle.
      Thanks for stopping by ;)

      Delete
  8. sorry it's taken me so long to get back to your email /living in a time warp this weekend - but thanks for your insight into the eating thing. What you said made so much sense and I watched Hungry for Change and found a lot of your logic there. You're so fantastic and now I feel I've used all my comment space so can't comment on this post except to say you're spot on :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Comment space. Its so true, right? Once you post a certain amount its like, "Okay, I'm not sure this is appropriate any longer."

      Hmm is it a documentary? I'd love to see it. I have a few friends with eating disorders, and it lays really close to my heart. I remembered to eat yesterday. It was great, because I had nothing but mashed potatoes for the whole meal!

      And thanks, I appreciate it.

      Delete
  9. these are the posts where I wonder why you aren't a writer...<3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Amanda, you're the most encouraging friend I have.

      Delete
  10. This is a great quote.

    I use this quote to go both ways though, which is probably way more detrimental to me than anything I compare myself with.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bahahah. Yeah, I could see how you could work it either way.
      And yes, its my absolute favorite quote ever. ever. ever.

      I also just noticed your email. freaking awesome. thats all I can say. I love it.

      Delete
  11. Great post! It's hard not to have comparing creep up every once in a while but it's something I work hard at.

    ReplyDelete

Whats on your mind?