KIMBERLY JAHNS | OPINION EDITOR
Comparison is the thief of joy. This phrase could not be more accurate. We measure our achievement by the successes and failures of others. If we received an A, but so did the rest of the class, it loses its excitement for doing well. But we still received an A!
Even on Valentine’s Day, comparison runs rampant. You would think on a day that’s supposed to be all about love, you would be able to be happy and enjoy the simple presence of your significant other. Yet people are buying cliché gifts and trying to go big in order to impress everyone with their money or to show their love in a large way.
One gift I cannot understand is the 93-inch (or 7.75-foot) tall, $280 teddy bear. This thing is the size of a refrigerator. Who is buying these teddy bears? What would you even do if you received one? “I keep forgetting to buy a bed, why don’t I go sleep on that bear that takes up half my house and costs more than my entire wardrobe.” At that point, I’d rather just get the cash, or maybe have the money invested for the diamond ring I’m going to want in a few years.
To some degree, Valentine’s Day is about frivolous spending. What other day would you buy someone a dozen roses, chocolate, a tie, a card and some stuffed animal that will end up in the back of a closet in a few months? My parents usually still give each other a Valentine’s Day gift, but they are much more low-key than my generation’s gifts.
My mother’s first dozen roses were from my father. There is beauty in the simple. He didn’t give her boxes on boxes of chocolates, leather gloves, 50 red roses or a giant useless teddy bear. Because he didn’t give a million gifts, that made the roses that much more special.
But when we begin to compare our gift of a single red rose to the person who received a diamond necklace, our gift suddenly seems cheap and thoughtless. But a rose is a beautiful gift. A thoughtful card can be just as beautiful as a bear the size of a car.
Maybe your significant other likes gifts and wants for many things. If that’s the case, good luck and Godspeed. I hope you have a job that can afford his/her taste in gifts. I also hope you understand nothing will ever be good enough.
Stop comparing. Look at your specific situation, your partner, your life and your decisions. Allow yourself to be proud of your grade even if someone did better. It’s YOUR grade; YOU earned it. Don’t let other people take away your happiness, love or joy. You deserve these good things in life. When you let other people control your happiness, their control can creep into other parts of your life too.
Love your life, live your life and appreciate every rose, card or minute you have to spend with your significant other, friend or family member. Life is too short to worry about the size of your teddy bear.