Measuring comes in handy when you are cooking. Constant measurement in your day-to-day life, however, can quickly drain the joy from you.
Measuring from the Outside Sources that Steal Joy
Theodore Roosevelt is credited with saying, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” In our technological world, opportunities for comparison and measurement are all around us.
Along with Roosevelt’s definition, I would tweak it a little and say, “Measuring is the thief of joy.”
Unless you’ve developed a strong, internal foundation of self-esteem and self-worth, it is easy to compare yourself to other’s accomplishments or appearance and feel a sense of not being, doing, or having enough.
Social Media’s Comparison
An obvious example for outside measurement and not enoughness comes from social media. I’m not alone in feeling less than with social media. Here’s a great study on the effects of social media, on comparison and self-esteem.
Having battled with low self-esteem for most of my life, I now find it quite ironic that I am supposed to ask people to like or follow me.
While I understand the benefits of social media: keeping in touch with friends and family, gaining more exposure and connection with readers, it easily steals my joy, not to mention hours of time!
Joy slips away if I start measuring how many comments, likes or shares I receive compared to someone else.
What’s sad about this measuring is that I lose the joy I felt posting something in the first place. I created something from a place of inspiration and sharing it in hopes to encourage and inspire others.
Letting Go of the Media’s Measuring
In my book, The Freedom to EAT – 10 Secrets for Lasting Weight Loss and Inner Peace, I share my struggle with media measurement.
It started as a teenager when I read the teen magazines. I started comparing myself to the models, how skinny and pretty they were. There wasn’t a redhead in the bunch.
My weight became an issue as an adolescent. Unbeknownst to me, my lack of love at home along with a lot of anxiety, caused me to eat. I was stuffing down my feelings with food.
As I got older, advertisements in magazines, television, and billboards promoted thin, happy, beautiful super models. Added to the mix were all the material possessions like luxury cars, homes, designer clothes, and lavish vacations. I certainly didn’t measure up to what I thought was the norm.
Finding joy was getting to the root of the emotional and spiritual weight that I carried. I discovered that my self-worth was not measured by a number on the scale or clothing size or what material possessions I owned.
The outside voices of measurement are loud and pervasive. Joy comes from ignoring those voices to listen to the voice of Truth within.
Thou Shalt Not Measure is a Commandment
Remember the Ten Commandments? They aren’t just a movie staring Charlton Heston as Moses. They were laws given to the Israelites when they were freed from slavery.
The point of the commandments was to set structure and boundaries in their new life, allowing for order and intended for their well-being.
Okay, so it doesn’t say, “Thou shalt not measure,” but it does say, “Thou shalt not covet.” Covet means to have a strong, envious desire that which belongs to another.
Are you guilty of coveting? I know I am. When I covet, joy slips away. Coveting takes away our well-being.
God’s Not Measuring, So Why Should You?
I love the story of how King David was chosen. The verse in 1 Samuel 16:7 (NRSV) says: But the Lord said to Samuel,
“Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
Samuel was a prophet sent by God to pick the next King. God told Samuel to go to Jesse’s house. He had eight sons.
Jesse brings out seven of the boys and parades them in front of Samuel. The first son is Eliab. He’s impressive, tall, self-assured, kingly. Samuel immediately thinks he’s the one, but God rejects him.
One by one Samuel sizes up each boy. Each time, God rejects them. So, Samuel, a little confused, asks Jesse if he has any more sons. He does, David.
David was out tending the sheep. When he walked in, God told Samuel, “He’s the one.” It is about the heart. And David goes on to slay Goliath and becomes a great king.
Comparing Yourself to Others is Meaningless and Unproductive
What I’ve learned is that most people are shouldering some kind of burden. You may have no idea what is going on in their life, the life that you are comparing.
I’m reminded of the sad news that came with the back-to-back deaths of celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, 61, and fashion designer Kate Spade, 55. Both were wildly successful with lives that seemed to be picture perfect. Yet, both committed suicide.
When you measure, you miss focusing on the gift of life, your life, that only you can live.
Do you compare yourself to friends or business associates? It’s good to have role models. But do the people you associate with bring you joy and make you better or steal your joy?
When you have a negative reaction to measurement, ask yourself what’s causing it. It’s a great opportunity to explore some negative feelings or thoughts that you’ve been holding onto.
I have thought about my negative reaction to social media. I’ve come to the conclusion about that. For me, it’s like running. I just don’t like it. : )
Let Go of Measurement and Focus on What Brings You Joy
What activities do you love?
With whom do you associate? Are they positive and encouraging or gossipy and condemning?
Stay focused on what you feel called to do. That’s the place where joy and flow live with no regard to measurement.
Do you see other places where measurement gets in the way? What are your feelings about social media? Do you find it positive or negative? I’d love for you to post your input in the comments section below.
If physical, emotional, or spiritual weight are weighing you down, if you are stuck in the measurement mindset, you can find freedom in The Freedom to EAT – 10 Secrets for Lasting Weight Loss and Inner Peace . Read the first two chapters for free to see if my book resonates with you.