A few years ago, I was diagnosed with a health condition that wasn’t life-threatening, but was life-altering. The healing process required sometimes significant changes in my diet, exercise, sleep patterns, and more. With the diagnosis a few years behind me, I sometimes find myself looking at life before the diagnosis and life after. Most of the time, I see how I’ve grown stronger, healthier, and have better management of my body and mind. But sometimes I look back and think, “I wish I had x back.”

Sometimes comparison is inspiring and motivating (like when I see how much healthier I am now compared to a few years ago). But other times comparison can bring us down or motivate us in unhealthy ways. The quote, “Comparison is the thief of joy,” often attributed to Theodore Roosevelt, comes to mind here, too.

But when we are aware of how comparison leads to those negative impacts, we are better able to avoid that loss of joy. This week at Verily, we’re looking at some of the ways envy shows up in our friendships and how to understand and overcome it. We’ll also have an article about orthorexia—a fixation on only eating healthy food, taken to an extreme measure—and the factors that lead to this disordered dieting, like comparison and poor self-esteem. 

Do you have thoughts about comparison you’d like to share with the Verily community? Leave us a note here and we might publish it in our Letters to the Editor column.