Comparison is the Thief of Joy

August 2, 2022

Comparison is the Thief of Joy

By Amba Gale

“Comparison is the Thief of Joy.”

—Teddy Roosevelt

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” Teddy Roosevelt said that. A remarkable quote.

This is my personal story about that, a story that took place during the first year of Covid, 2020.

In March of this year, 2022, I had the privilege of leading my foundational program, a course called The Heart of Leadership, twice – one for a client company, and one for the public.

It was the first time I led, live, in a public setting, since 2019, as I stopped making this conversation available during Covid, not able to lead it live.

Prior to leading, as I always do before I lead my work, I engaged deeply in reflecting on my own journey through Covid, in behalf of my own completion.

I realized how profoundly I had been disconnected from my own Spirit, even for about a year. After my book, Crossing Thresholds, Island Reflections was published, I entered a new learning curve, in behalf of “marketing” the book – a field of endeavor that was foreign to me, and one in which I needed to place myself on a learning curve. 

The possibilities were enormous, the vocabulary new: “lead generators,” “reader magnets,” “digital marketing funnels,” “giveaways,” ––all language out of some weird, horrific, Alice in Wonderland world down some rabbit hole that seemed to have nothing to do with who  I am, or what my own, most impactful, unique gifts are for the world: depth, reliability for transformation, rigour, releasing wisdom from the heart, the experience of our profound interconnectedness with other human beings, of community, interactions which make a difference.

Yes, I wanted people to be forwarded in their own journey by the book.  Yes, I wanted the book to make a difference in the world.  And no, I did not want to start doing speaking engagements, even though I thought I should.  I did not want to reach out to other “influencers” to promote me, even though I thought I should.  I did not want to take 30 courses to tell me what I should do next, who I should be next, even though I thought I should.

I found myself comparing myself to other authors. I began to live in a nightmare of overwhelm, comparison, unacknowledged sadness, and THEN, one morning in the first week of January, 2021 – I REALIZED I was suffering.

WOW!  What a revelation: to move from being my own suffering, to being aware of my own suffering!  A shift of identity which altered my world.

May I note to you: the simple shift, from being identified with, (emotions, opinions, feelings, thoughts, triggered reactions) to being aware of, makes all the difference in the world.

And I am a stand for Joy!  The realization itself was enormous. I took myself out of the water I had been swimming in, breathed in air, delicious, pure air, and saw that I could fly.

However, ultimately I found that my book did, just the way it could, combined with courses I designed and led, create a conversation which allowed for empowering people to cross thresholds with their own difficult passages, including the Covid passage we were all in together.

While that is not the point, what is the point is I’d like to extend an invitation to you.

I invite you to consider this, as a possibility: there is no one like you on the entire planet. And when we embrace ourselves as ourselves, we begin to tap into our inner joy. We do not need to engage in one second of comparison or matching up to (even) our own ideas of perfection. We can, in fact, let that go. And, when we let go of who we think we “should be,” and, simply ACCEPT, and DISCERN the essence of who we are and who we are not, the outcome is JOY! 

And, when given a change to stand in that, and from that, design a future worth living, a future that is meaningful to us, in which we are about That which is larger than ourselves, across all the domains of our lives, well, then, there is no striving, no forcing, and only an organic unfolding into that future. 

Acceptance, surrender, embracing, being grateful for – these are all big words, and, oh, so very true.

As Mister Rogers used to say at the end of each of his programs:

“You make each day such a special day. Do you know how? Just by being you!”

Yes. You do. 

So go into the world, with your own light, just the way you are not, and celebrate!

I am thrilled to announce that the next offering of The Joy of Being, a course for Heart of Leadership graduates, is now open, for enrollment, in December, and, I invite you to give yourself this gift.


Comparison is The Devil’s Game

By Amba Gale

For years I tried to be someone I was not.

Then, a crisis, and then I worked, I prayed, I went in deep
into my heart.
I met teachers, and met
The Teacher in myself.

I opened to Mystery,
sought and called forth Source,
and found
that Spirit moves through me,
through us all.

I wrought a work of Giving
and became generous, honed, still,
fashioned myself
to serve, through time.

The more I grew
the more I learned
to be humble,
and to be at peace.

“I am still learning,” says the Artist from the
Ancient Well of Spirit
where the Life of his Sistine Ceiling
lights the spark of Divinity
in us all.

And, when the book was born,
and came into the world,
a product of my journeying,
a guidance ‘cross my threshold crossing,
the pandemic came,
and I forgot.

Once the book was born,
I thought I should be someone else,
someone who
was more influential than me
knew more than me
was more successful than
knew how to play the game better
than me.

Someone who was not me.

Comparison is the devil’s game.

For months I brewed
a storm of my own making
while the world raged in a pandemic, outside.

Then, I stopped.

Realized I was suffering.

Committed to end the suffering.

Found my Self in celebration,
re-membered and settled into who I am:
Spirit moving through me into the World.

And the book
serves, as it does,
my life,
the life of others,
and the Work.

And who I am,
and what I am
moves into this day
approaches the world,
moves through the world

with intention and with blessing and with peace.

Teddy said
“Comparison is the thief of joy.”

I like that.

Additional Posts

September 26, 2023

Trusting Life

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September 12, 2023

When the Ceiling Falls

“We will only understand the miracle of life fully when  we allow the unexpected to happen.” PAULO COELHO Last week, the ceiling fell in my lower family room, where I house all my books, papers, and quite a bit of work. Really. This really happened. Like a rip in the fabric of the force. A steady drip, drip, drip, from the kitchen above had been falling on the sheetrock for who knows how long, and finally, it all came crashing down. We had been out to eat the night before and did not hear the sound. All my Crossing Thresholds…

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