The Thief of Joy

Photo: WOCinTech Chat

Photo: WOCinTech Chat

by: Minda Harts, Founder, The Memo

She got a new promotion. She just got engaged. She bought a new car. All the while you feel like you are hanging on by a thread to your job. Or maybe you have thought, “Hey, I have just as much talent as so-and-so. Why not me?” Has comparison ever tried to steal your joy?

Comparison will have you feeding yourself a narrative that is not productive, and more importantly is poisonous. It is totally possible to have a “dry season” of your own and still be happy for someone else's harvest season. Comparing our experiences to other women is the thief of joy. Looking at a picture on social media only tells you half the story: you don’t know what happened before or after that picture was taken. We have to learn to shift our mindset and celebrate each other’s wins. Doesn’t it feel good when someone celebrates yours?

As women, we have been told -- and sometimes shown -- that there are only a few bites at the apple for us or only one seat available. And then we open ourselves up to this scarcity mentality that if it happens for another woman it can’t happen for us. That is crazy self-talk.

If I am being honest with you, there are times when I have to modify my own mind and heart from this self-talk. For example, many of you might know that my debut book, The Memo: What Women of Color Need To Know To Secure A Seat At The Table, comes out on August 20th (available on pre-order now). As a first-time author, there are days when I question if anyone will buy the book or show up in various cities during my book tour. During one of my “comparison” moments, I saw another author having their book release -- they had all of these fabulous celebs posting about it and in conversation with them. I started to compare my situation to theirs, telling myself that I already failed because I don’t have the access they do. I had to remind myself that it is insane to compare the two roads traveled because they aren’t the same. When comparing apples to oranges, there is no winning at the end of that equation. So the last time I felt like I wanted to compare--I purchased her new book.

I refuse to let comparison steal my joy and not allow me to root for someone else's success while still rooting for my own. We can do both--despite what popular culture might tell us. I have also found that when my mind starts to play bad tricks on me, I can use someone else's win as mission fuel to help inspire my future wins. We don’t have to cap our wins or police the wins of others. There is enough winning to go around and we should find joy in knowing that. And for those of us that grew up in the black church--- “I won’t let the devil steal my joy” or anyone else for that matter (myself included)!