Comparison is the Thief of Joy | Amy Claire Shearer
Amy wrote a review of ‘The Boozy Cow’ July 2019
Glasgow, United Kingdom ● 42 contributions ● 9 helpful votes
Gorgeous cocktails and cool atmosphere
“This is an excellent little bar and restaurant just off Princes Street making it really easy to find. The food is amazing, the cocktails are so good and so cheap if you’re there mid-week! The décor may be slightly off-putting if you’ve got any veggie friends; but the quote inscribed on the wall in the female toilets will resonate with me forever. A must if you’re in the city centre!
I bloody love a TripAdvisor review. And, if you do too, you will find that exact four star rating buried deep within the world wide web. The Boozy Cow is indeed a real place, not just what my friends call me after I’ve necked a bottle of wine and five shots.
I recall two things about the day I dined there and funnily, neither are about the food.
The first, naturally, that it was where my best pal and I ‘prinked’ before we went to see a hugely influential figure address the people at Edinburgh Castle. There were no mentions of austerity; rather it was an evening of watching an Aussie pint-sized pop princess do The Loco-motion. Secondly, and perhaps a strange thing to admit: I vividly remember my trip to the ladies room.
So much so, that I included it within my TripAdvisor review and documented it on my Instagram feed.
It was a fairly normal pre-leaving-a-restaurant visit. Topping up my lippy, making sure my fringe wasn’t split and dabbing perfume on my neck to keep me smelling funky fresh while I boogied to Miss Minogue.
But, the wall spoke to me.
Not literally, or I’d probably be in some sort of asylum now, but the message was incredibly poignant, especially as you could see it over your shoulder when looking in the mirror.
“Comparison is the thief of joy…”
I hadn’t ever heard it before, yet it is now what I hold at the forefront of my life. I kept repeating it over and over again in my head: it was like I’d found the answer to every question I had ever asked or ever would ask again. Everything finally made sense in the world; even just for those few seconds as I snapped a picture of it.
It’s so simple, yet so impactful. As women, we are forever comparing ourselves, our partners (or in my case, lack of), our homes, our jobs, our friendships, even our bra sizes. It’s not like we’ve been taught this terrible trait, we’ve adopted it as we’ve grown older. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve always enjoyed a bit of healthy competition, but these days it’s less about the egg and spoon race and more a rat race.
And really, who are we competing against?
Comparison is a funny one for me. For years, I’ve constantly compared myself to a number of different people all for different reasons. You know the scene in Clueless when Cher Horowitz has the virtual wardrobe and slides different pieces until they create the perfect outfit? That’s the mindset I have sometimes. I wish I could have this person’s waist, that one’s hair, that girl’s eyelashes, this one’s flat stomach. For so long, I convinced myself that if I could just somehow magically stitch together all of these ‘perfect’ traits, all of my issues would just disappear.
How many times have I limited myself to just a mere 600 calories a day to obtain that dream body and missed out on the pizza that friends were eating? How many times have I stopped myself from wearing an outfit that I loved because I didn’t think I’d look as good in it as someone two sizes smaller? How many times have I avoided full-length photographs with loved ones as I thought I’d look massive in comparison?
I’ll tell you – too many bloody times.
It’s truly awful that gorgeous memories with family can suddenly be ruined because the photo everyone loves you hate because you have a double chin. It’s no fun when you’ve constantly been in the headspace where if you wear black, you’ll blend in and appear slimmer. Making sure you’re always tucked behind people in photographs is absolutely exhausting, for at least then they can mask how you really look.
So, my question to us all: why are we constantly comparing ourselves to others instead of focusing on the person staring back at us in the mirror?
I’m speaking in past tense, however, I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t my current life. Of course, I am finding ways to cope and taking small steps to change my mindset; but when something is ingrained into your every thought, these changes aren’t going to be made overnight. Also, when you feel like that, nothing anyone says will ever make you think any differently. They can tell you that you’re beautiful as you are or you have a lovely figure – but unless you truly believe that yourself, such compliments once again fall on deaf ears and instead you’re simply left as a shell of a person longing to be like someone else.
To cope now, I try not to compare, but just admire them for what they are. Yes, that person might have the perfect waistline and that person has gorgeous skin and that person could be on a runway – but I’ve got qualities that make me, me.
I genuinely don’t think we will ever be truly content with everything in our lives; I think we’ll always be longing for more. But, every time I long for something that I don’t have, I just simply look around me and remember what I do have.
I’ve got people who love me, a wardrobe full of fabulous faux fur coats, a ticket to see Jane McDonald’s 2021 tour and a treasure trove of memories to last a lifetime.
As women, we need to stop longing for things and instead learn to live in the moment. We need to stop letting our joy be taken from us and bow out of the rat race that our lives have become.
Instead, we need to go at our own pace, enjoy each moment as it comes and stop comparing ourselves to one another.
Twenty years down the line, do you want to remember not lying by the poolside drinking cocktails because you were too afraid to wear a swimming costume or do you want to reminisce about drinking Pina Coladas while eyeing up the lifeguard with the good backside?
Quite honestly, the only thing we should compare is which supermarket sells the cheapest bottle of champagne.
And FYI, it’s Lidl.
Amy Claire Shearer