One of my favorite bloggers wrote "Comparison is the thief of joy." in 2013. Brilliant!!  I knew exactly what she meant.  I think that all generations have suffered from the disease of Comparisonitis.  It is an ugly sickness.  It is one that is contagious and spreads easily.  It can creep up on you slowly or hit you like a mack truck.

You all know what I am talking about....... you all have had it..... and seen it in others.  

From what I remember, I came down with Comparisonitis, for the first time, in 6th grade. Every girl in my grade had a thin, gold stretchy belt with a shiny buckle closure and a silky off-white shirt that they wore together.  Every stinkin' girl. Everyone but me.  Everyone.

 

{Well...in all truth... EVERYONE was probably more likely about only 22% of my grade!  Sheesh.}

 

You see.... I had compared what others had to what I had.  I saw that many girls had the super cool silky shirt and amazing sparkly gold belt.  I didn't.  I felt terrible.  Every time I saw a girl in the hallway wearing it was like I was being exposed to this nasty virus....over and over.  Eventually I succumbed and the disease hit.  I had Comparisonitis.  It wasn't the last time in my life I would contract it... it happened many times and still does.

For those who don't remember I searched and found THE BELT!  It can now be found on Etsy... for sale as a VINTAGE item!  Oh for the LOVE!!  But isn't it beautiful.............? ;)

Anyway....

As a mom, I had hoped that my kids would be spared from this disease for as long as they could.  I knew that about by their middle school years they would catch it and I would help them deal with it as best as I could.  But I never thought I would be wiping the tears of pain caused by this wretched illness at age 9.

Our youngest, Noah, has a certain zest for life and sensitive heart.  He can be funny.  He can be naughty.  He can be brave.  He can be a baby.  He is a normal kiddo who loves in a big way and feels in an even bigger way. 

A week ago Noah turned 9.  He was SO excited to be the "Celebrity of the Week" in his 3rd grade classroom.  On each day of the week the birthday kid gets to do something special.  One day is the "Sharing Day".  They get to bring something special in to show the class.  He had been thinking about what he would bring for that day for MONTHS.  He was eager for Christmas & his birthday to see what he got so it might help him decide.  

But it wasn't the holiday that came through for him.... it was an unexpected "gift". Noah became the 3rd owner of a 2007 iPod Nano!!!  WOAH!  Our college age daughter had passed it down to our now 7th grade son several years ago who now was passing it to Noah.  It was a hand-me-down.  But this was big stuff for him!  He didn't think a hand-me-down was bad.  He was overjoyed!  He felt so important and grown up.  He could be seen walking around the house with his Skylanders headphones on his little red head and holding the Nano proudly.... singing and dancing in his own little world.  It was JOY lived right out loud.  

 

You can check out this 10 second video that shows Noah's happiness that he felt from having a Nano...... dancing to a tune that only he can hear. :)   I loved seeing him be so happy with music in his ear and bursting with pride of ownership. 

So it was a no brainer for him when it finally came down to decision time for Sharing Day!  He was bringing his NEW NANO!!!!!  Oh my gosh, his excitement was making his cup over flow with joy.  Of he went to school....

Cut to end of the day.  He gets into my car and I can hardly wait to find out his "high and low" of the day (our daily conversation).  I say "Well what is your high and low pal?".  He said, sadly, "My low was my sharing.".  Oh my gosh....are you kidding?  What could have happened?  I asked "Why bud?".  He said, "Well, I shared the nano with everyone and...did you know, momma, that ALL the other kids in my class have iPod TOUCHES?". (cue tears....) 

Sweet 3rd graders had no idea that by telling Noah that they had iPod Touches it would be like contaminating him with a virus.  They weren't being mean.  They were just sharing. But..... it is hard for a little guy to continue to feel special about his 7 year old hand-me-down Nano when "all" the other kids have a touch screen iPod.  

 

{Now let's be clear folks.....  I know that that when he said "ALL" it was the exact same thing as when I said EVERYONE back in 6th grade.  Double sheesh.} 

 

I know this reality.  But I also know the heart ache and propensity to exaggerate when hit by this disease.  Noah had caught his first case of Comparisonitis.  It was early onset Comparisonitis.  He is WAY too young to have to deal with the side effects of this.  Way too young.

So what did I do?  Just held him and loved him.  I can't change it.  I have no real answers.  I already do the whole newer 2014 version of "Clean your plate, there are kids in Africa who are starving" thing.  My kids know that they have way more than 90some% of the rest of the world.  They hear it from me... all. the. time.   But in that moment, he didn't need to hear it.  He just needed to be loved, listened to and cared for.  It's like when they get the flu....there is not much that is going to stop the course of the sickness.  You can only make sure that they don't feel alone and you are loved.    

 

And he is not alone.  Right?

But, FOR THE LOVE, can't we start the research for finding the cure for this life changing, emotionally damaging and self-worth killing disease already!??!  Can we work together to stop the spread of this illness that has the potential to become an epidemic and change things...forever. Comparisonitis must be cured.

Please. 

 

May you stop comparing yourself to those who have more and realize there are many more who have less.
May you cuddle up and love the ones around you who come down with a nasty case of Comparisonitis.
May you know that what you have is more than enough.

 

 

 

 

January 14, 2014 — Sarah Stevens

Comments

Kimberly

Kimberly said:

I love this and every blog you write. If only we could learn this lesson when we were young so we do not carry it forth to adulthood. Thank you for sharing.

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