You know that quote, “Comparison is the thief of joy”, by Theodore Roosevelt? Well, it’s true. I have realized how hard it is lately to not compare myself to others my age. I’m a young wife, mom, college graduate, writer, and newfound lover of health and fitness. Most of my friends and acquaintances whom are also all among my age are also spouses, parents, and are finding their passions in life. We are all alike in many ways–that is all for the fact that they don’t also have MS and have not had to deal with it the majority of their lives…
It’s hard not to compare
I honestly don’t complain about my MS often. Being diagnosed over twelve years ago, I have moved past that and I’m in the stage of acceptance and finding the positive in the negative. But, one thing I do struggle with is comparing myself to others. I am very blessed to say that my MS symptoms are less than severe. In fact, most days I thankfully feel normal other than extra fatigue. I look at other people my age, and it’s easy to see all the extra energy they have and the drive they have to get things done. It’s easy to see all of the things they have and think, why can’t my life be like theirs? It’s especially easy for me to forget that those people are different than I am. Those people probably don’t struggle with overwhelming fatigue and unpredictable symptoms. They probably don’t have piles of medical bills stacked high from procedures, MRI’s, specialist visits and blood work. They probably don’t have to worry and stress over finding reliable health insurance, because lucky for them, they might never need it. But, I do have all of those things. I try to remind myself daily that things are certainly not all that they seem to be, especially for an outsider looking in. No one has it easy, and we all tend to forget that. Those people with the perfect Facebook profiles and Instagram pictures? Their lives might be crumbling behind the lens of their phones and their perfectly filtered pictures. The man with the six pack abs and the perfectly put together wife and kids? Maybe the pressure to keep up with his perfect life is getting to him and he has to drink to get by. Maybe the woman you see with the nicely pedicured nails, freshly highlighted hair, and clothes you’ve only dreamt of wearing is scared to go home to an abusive husband.
No one’s life is perfect
In today’s world it is entirely too easy to look at what everyone else has and envy their perfect lives (or what seems to be). One thing having MS and many invisible symptoms has taught me, is that you certainly can’t judge a book by its cover. You honestly never know what people are going through and facing. Just like I have no idea what all of the people my age, who seem to have their lives perfectly put together, may be going through. No matter what you may be facing–even if the pain seems to be too much, the emotions are running way too deep, or the bills or piling way too high—someone else is dealing with something in their lives as well. We all have our demons and things that bring us down sometimes. Mine is MS, and it has made my life perfectly imperfect. But, I have to give myself some grace, and you need to remember to give yourselves grace too. We may have our issues and not always have the life we dreamed, but we are facing things much bigger than most people realize. We are strong despite our illness, we are able, and we have the ability to do anything we set our minds too. But most importantly, we’re all human! So, don’t compare yourself to others! Don’t waste your days letting the thief that is comparison steal your joy. Keep looking up, keep looking forward, and remember we all have our own issues—it’s how we choose to deal with them that counts.