Comparison is the thief of joy

Why you should only compete with yourself

As Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of all joy”, and he was most certainly right. Nowadays we have more access to peoples private lives through social media. We consume so much content in a day. We scroll through our news feeds and are bombarded with images, audio and videos. It is no wonder that we start to reflect and look at ourselves and possibly feel a little left behind, envious, sad and maybe even empty too. I too have and still do compare myself to others, It is hard not to, but, I have learned a few ways in which you can get some perspective and stop this bad habit. 

Compete to be a better version of you 

In the blogging world at the moment it is awards season, Irish blog awards, UK interior blog awards, there is a lot of competition. This post is actually inspired by my experience of comparison I felt last year around awards season. I remember being a finalist in both the UK and Ireland awards and I felt the need to go through every blog on the list and compare my work to theirs. I ended up feeling awful, negative thoughts crept in and I felt not good enough. I would look at peoples work and feel bad because I didn’t have a perfect website, Instagram etc. 

I am glad I went through this as I learned a really valuable lesson. I changed my thinking and instead of feeling envious I started to admire these blogs. I admired their hard work instead of envy, I started to be kinder to myself and my work. 

This year I reflected on where I was last year. I was proud to see how far I had come, My photos had improved, my writing was a bit better ( and grammar, lol), I was proud I started doing videos. So, this year when the shortlists come out and finalists are announced I won’t scroll through the list to see the competition because I compete with myself. I aim to improve me, improve on my strengths and weaknesses and grow as a person. I have stopped being hard on myself and I give myself praise for how far I have come. I also set goals for where I want to be. This has helped me loads in dampening them feelings of envy. I admire peoples work and aim to improve mine. I am also realistic and set myself goals based on the tools that I have. 

Another phrase I love is “A flower does not think to compete with the flower next to it, it just blooms”- Zen Shin 

So if you find yourself comparing your work, stop, look at ways you can improve, look back at your progress and be proud of yourself. Set yourself some realistic goals, make a list of things you need to achieve your goals and don’t be hard on yourself. 

The same principles apply in your day to day life. Facebook posts of everyone getting married, new houses, new cars, look at me aren’t I fantastic posts lol! We share the best parts of our lives on social media. Now, I enjoy social media, I am an Instagram addict but I do take what I see with a pinch of salt and that is something that probably comes with age. I love to take and share pretty images on my feed, I do not share the shabby chic chair that has a pile of washing on it!.

With social media, we have the power to not consume the content we do not want to see, I do not scroll through my personal Facebook feed, I can’t be arsed if a friend of a friend had ten kids and is with her second husband, I want to see videos of funny cats and shabby chic projects. So, instead of giving out, I hit that unfollow button. 

People are very quick to complain about what they see on social media, I choose to unfollow, stop watching, cut out the crap and follow people who inspire me, lift me, people I admire instead of envy. 
I think it is normal to compare yourself to others, so, don’t feel ashamed because everyone from time to time does it. If you are feeling down then I have some tips below that might help. 

Here are my top tips for when I’m feeling insecure and find myself comparing myself. 

Change your thoughts, challenge your inner dialogue and admire instead of envy. 

Unfollow and switch off the content that doesn’t inspire you. Maybe try a digital detox and un plug for the weekend.

Improve on yourself and become a better version of you. Focus on improving you. 

Practice gratitude and be grateful for the small things and not the materialistic things. 

See the bigger picture, there is more to a picture you see on Instagram, more to a post on Facebook and a lot more going on in peoples lives under the surface. 

Perfection does not exist so stop striving for it and accept yourself, flaws and all, also see that the people you envy are not perfect either.

Enjoy the journey, life is a journey, it has ups, downs, fun, laughter, and tears, it’s not to be treated like a checklist, a house and kids etc by 30, No, it’s an adventure, a book, a story. So stop looking at everyone else and what they are doing and work on your own journey, write your own story. Create a life that fulfils you, one that is full of growth and contentment. 

I really hope you enjoyed today’s post, I hope you feel that you are not alone when it comes to comparing yourself and it is only human. There are lots of ways in which we can make ourselves feel better so please so share your tips in the comments section below. 

Thanks for reading, 

Chat soon, 




  1. Mimi Harsh
    October 27, 2017 / 3:56 am

    Hello Catherine. Thank you for the wonderful content you give us. Your so positive and happy and I enjoy all your social media. I have stopped watching most social media because it was causing me to become so depressed. Since I stopped and started back on my reading 📚, and diys and such. I have felt so much better about myself. Thank you again for helping some of us over a hard hurdle to clear. Hugs!!!

  2. Poppy
    September 23, 2017 / 12:05 pm

    As always, thank you for your lovely post Catherine. I am now off of Facebook and have been for two years. Never looked back. It was way too much pressure and comparison, and unplugging was the best thing I could do for me. Indeed social media only shows people's best, no the sad or ugly side. As you said, I only follow inspiring people (ie, you ;-)) and am glad about it. Greetings from across the Pond!

  3. Catheryn Regan Mulvey
    September 21, 2017 / 9:54 am

    Very well said. Very inspiring.

  4. Lany Reads
    September 19, 2017 / 7:40 pm

    i don't know why my comment came out as unknown! I'm logged in! 😮

  5. Unknown
    September 19, 2017 / 7:40 pm

    Preach girl! I think we're conditioned to compete from a young age, and it takes a long time to change a habit of a lifetime! It's only when we realise how damaging it is to our self esteem and feelings of self worth that we start to challenge this behaviour.Like you I started to change how I spoke to and thought of myself, it's AMAZING what a bit of old self appreciation does! 🙂 totally agree with ya!I also should say I started also giving people I know real and thoughtful compliments about things they've done, and I think it's about time I do that with people who I read and love the work of online too! So I'll start with you, I love your blog, I think you've a wonderful personality and it shines through in your writing- I don't even really like shabby chic, I come here for your commentary and your eye for details!- you've been an absolute delight to interact with on instagram and I really rate your creative skills! 🙂 Thank you for creating all this free content that I really enjoy!

  6. Catherine Carton
    September 19, 2017 / 11:38 am

    Thanks for reading and commenting Pam. It is so true about choice, how we choose to look at things and how we choose to talk bad to yourselves and compare.

  7. Pam Long
    September 18, 2017 / 9:51 pm

    For many years I was better at fighting off the flu bug than the comparison bug…but I handle it so much better now. One of the things that helped me many years ago… was a good friend who was put off by my reaction to her complimenting me and let me have it. It really made me think of how I CHOSE to think less of myself and in comparison more of others. I imagine everyone deals with this issue sometime in their lives. I am glad that you wrote about it, hopefully one of your followers who needs to see this trait in themselves will read this and be motivated to change.

  8. Catherine Carton
    September 18, 2017 / 8:54 pm

    Thats a great tip, admiring it and the feeling will pass. Its okay and normal to feel that way but not fun to feel that way all of the time. Thanks so much for reading! x

  9. witchgirl26
    September 18, 2017 / 11:38 am

    I love this! Only been reading your blog for a couple of months and it's brilliant but this more than anything really hit home with me. I was terrible for comparing myself to everyone and decided about a year ago that doing that was slowly driving me insane! I'm much happier for it and while sometimes I do feel envious, I admit it and try to understand why I am rather than just letting it eat me up.

  10. Catherine Carton
    September 17, 2017 / 6:00 pm

    Thanks so much for reading Beth! Wise words to live by x

  11. Catherine Carton
    September 17, 2017 / 6:00 pm

    Thank you so much for reading! I am so glad you related to it, I too try and seek out the optimists and the people full of energy x

  12. Beth Levenstein
    September 17, 2017 / 2:19 pm

    Very well said Catherine, always be true to yourself, kind to others and never give up!

  13. Holiday Cookie Diva
    September 17, 2017 / 2:18 pm

    Beautifully written! I have similar thoughts and seek the positive people! Thank you for the inspiration

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