The Thief of Joy

“Why compare yourself to others? No one in the entire world can do a better job of being you than you.” –Anonymous

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When I was thinking about what to write, I found myself thinking of some successful people and how smart and creative they are and how they seem to be living “the life.” I realized the reason I often find myself stuck with creativity or in enjoying my life as it is right now is often because I am comparing—comparing myself to others or even to myself from another time. This, of course, brought to mind the famous quote everyone knows by Theodore Roosevelt (even if we didn’t know he was the one who said it): “Comparison is the thief of joy.” So, I decided this is what I will talk about today.

To tell you all the truth, as I began to write this, I found myself afraid to share. I’ve always cherished being honest and real. If someone asks me a question, I want to be as real and honest as I can. I feel we get nowhere pretending we are perfect or live perfect lives. So, instead of listening to my fear and not sharing, or sharing only neat pictures, I may get pretty real in this post. Because they say courage is doing something even if you are afraid. This actually ties in quite nicely with my last post on insecurities and comfort zones, now that I think about it.

We all deal with comparison. I have compared myself to others all my life. Often, I would find myself looking at other’s lives and being disappointed that I’m not like them. My comparison would notice something amazing and beautiful about them, and then follow with a negative about me. Examples: I am not as outgoing as them (I am too quiet), I didn’t get the ACT score they did and I had to take it a billion times to get it close enough to their scores (I must not be smart enough), they get asked to lead praise and worship and I don’t (because I’m too timid and quiet or not a good enough singer), they are given leadership positions (but I am not given any because I am not charismatic or able to lead), they got the dance part (but I didn’t because I am not as good as them), they got the recognition (which means I’m not as good at the job), they got the 4.0 award at graduation (but I, who got a 3.95,  must not be worth celebrating—I am lesser), everyone got odd awards (I never did because I’m too quiet that I am forgotten or not good enough), this person has the dream job (but I can’t have the dream job because I am not capable of achieving it). It leaves me believing lies about myself: I am dull, I am too timid, I am not smart enough, not creative enough, not pretty enough, not wanted, not admired, and not capable.

I also notice that, with each comparison, I’m dismissing any achievements I have gained. If I receive something, I follow with “Oh, it was just this once” or “Oh, but they got it three times” or “Oh, I will lose it because I am not good enough to keep it.” I don’t allow myself to appreciate myself or my achievements. I look at my friends’ 4.0s and think, “Man, I just got a 3.95.” (This is the perfect example of the silliness. I mean, seriously, it is a 0.05 difference!) I don’t allow myself to be happy with how I am or where I am at right now, even if I am accomplishing a dream I had.

I think about the quote “Comparison is the thief of joy” and I know it is true. It really does steal away joy. Many of us have also heard this quote by Steven Furtick: “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind the scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” We all know this, of course. We are all aware. Yet, we continue doing it anyways.

Although I find it hard to believe people would compare themselves to me and wish they were like me, some people have. They see my highlight reels, and wish to be like me. But I, just like most people, don’t share the hard parts or ugly parts of my life. So, I wonder, why such amazing people like them would ever want to be someone as helpless as me? You’d think that would help me to not compare myself to others, and yet, I still compare myself to them.

How do we stop comparing? How do we live life to the fullest, enjoying every season, and embracing where we are in our journey? We know everyone’s journey is different. Yet, we still think the grass looks greener on the other side, until we are on that grass and realize each blade of grass has its challenges. We become so aware of those challenges, that we forget we are living on the grass we always wanted to live on.

Comparison does not only steal our joy. It lies to us. It puts us down. It makes us feel someone else’s life is better. It allows us to covet what others have instead of being grateful for what we have. It puts our focus on the problems in our life rather than the good. Or it minimizes the good in our life.

“Don’t compare your life to others. There’s no comparison between the sun and the moon. They shine when it’s their time.” –Anonymous

“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms.” –Zen Shin

So, I am here to tell you (and myself) once again, do not compare your life to the highlight reels of someone else’s. You are an amazing person with great ideas. You are capable of achieving your dreams. You offer something unique and wonderful to the world. Maybe someone in your life is a sun or a rose, but that does not discredit you, the moon or the lily, from being any less amazing. Every person faces challenges. We may not always see them, but they are there. What makes the difference is whether the person allows those challenges to become the only focus or if they allow themselves to appreciate the good in their life. There is always something to be thankful for, even if your world is turned upside down. We just need to learn to see it.

Now, if you are like me, you didn’t believe a word of that last paragraph, but I encourage you to daily remind yourself of it. Keep telling yourself it, thinking about it, meditating on what God says about you, until you believe it. Don’t disregard just because you don’t believe it now.

I may not be The Bucket List Family (I know I’m not the only one who thinks their life seems so exciting and adventurous), but that does not mean I can’t live a life of adventure in my every-day life.
I have something to offer to the people around me, and I can live an adventurous life right now in the season I am in. Don’t disregard yourself before you begin.

 

Blessings to you from this little flower learning how to bloom.

—The Adversity Rose—

Kaitlyn Rose

DREAM. PURSUE. EXPERIENCE. GROW.

This blog will cover travel, pursuing dreams, and personal growth.

Trust and Worry Not

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? –Luke 12:25-26 (NIV)

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Recently I have been thinking about this verse. Two weeks ago, I realized yet again that I worry too much about things that I do not even know if they will happen. Why do I worry about these things if it is unnecessary to worry about them? I do not know what life will throw at me, but that does not mean I have to worry about a lot of “what ifs,” especially if they cause more problems for me than solutions. I have learned a lot these past few months, but I feel one thing that I have been learning the most is to stop allowing worry to dictate my life.

I took some personality tests today, mainly to see if I would come out the same as I had before (I mean, I might answer differently). I have come to realize and accept that I am a dreamer. I love to dream about my future. I love to imagine what it would be like from another person’s shoes. I love to create stories. I like to see life positively. But I also like to think of all the “what ifs.”

Sometimes, those “what ifs” are not good things. Then I find myself worrying. Once I start worrying, I start to believe that it will probably happen. However, my solution in dealing with these worries is trying to pretend they are not there and to squish them down. Then things like acne break outs, losing more hair than usual, not eating well, and having a wacked-out sleep schedule start to happen. Then I start crying all the time out of stress. Then I have some silly melt down during a moment I have less control over my emotions. It just spills out.

And then later, I get upset that I had this melt down. Then the cycle begins again.

Luckily, since I was able to recognize my cycle last year, I quickly tried to snap out of it by eating better, sleeping better, and taking better care of myself. I also started to work on not being so easily affected by the people around me. I started to feel better.

Then I had another melt down two weeks ago and I was upset that I had seemingly not changed much. I still worry. And here I was quoting the very verse above to someone else. Ironic. Yet, I am glad I did, because it has been in the back of my mind since and I have unconsciously been mulling over it.

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

27 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.”

I realized I was the one that needed to hear this, not the other person.

I am a dreamer, and I am a dreamer for a reason. However, I do not have to dwell or dream about the negative things in life. I can trust that the God who created everything can take care of me. I have no control. And worrying adds no hours to my life, so why waste my life worrying?

God has not failed me yet. I have no reason to doubt that He will cease to take care of me. I am way more blessed than I give myself credit for. God has blessed my life significantly more than I could ever fully realize. I am grateful for my family and friends. I’m thankful to have a roof over my head, food in my tummy, and a good job that does make me happy. I do feel like God has been leading me and guiding me every step of the way.

This season of my life has been an odd season, but still a good season. I have been stretching myself. Exploring what I believe. Trying to get a grasp on what it means to love God and to love others—and to love myself.

There are some days I wonder how any of this had ever happened, and that is when I know God’s hand was right in the middle. I still have a long way to go, but I know I am learning and growing. I have been doing better about handling stress. I am learning slowly how to not allow small things to worry me. I am learning to trust the process. I am learning again how to trust God and realize what He has done for me.

Today’s post is small, but I hope my experiences can help others!

—The Adversity Rose—

Kaitlyn Rose

DREAM. PURSUE. EXPERIENCE. GROW.

This blog will cover travel, personal growth, and life in general.

 

Seoul, Magic, and Some Other Things

I believe in Christ, like I believe in the sun—not because I can see it, but by it I can see everything else. –C.S. Lewis

The world is but a canvas for our imagination. — Henry David Thoreau

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As March draws near, I realize that I am almost halfway through my time here in Korea. The school semester is about to change which means I get different classes, different children. I’ve been told the cold weather will just get warmer from here. Things will change again for the next six months I am here. I find myself partly excited to see who God brings into my life the next six months to bless me or hopefully be a blessing to, but I am also sad to be saying goodbye to the children in my life now. They bring me so much joy and are definitely my favorite part of being in Korea. I do adore teaching these children so much!

This past week was the Lunar New Year or Soellal. We got three days off work, so I took the chance to spend it in Seoul. This time alone. It was my first solo trip. This is something I’ve been wanting to do as part of my “pushing myself out of my comfort zone” challenge. But I was more nervous before the trip than I ever was during the trip. I felt pretty comfortable traveling around. I, of course, had a few times where I missed the company of others during the trip, but I was also glad to experience a trip on my own for the first time. My favorite day, though, was when I jampacked my day with Lotte World (an indoor theme park), Lotte World Mall, and Lotte World Mall Aquarium. I had found a 50% discount online for Lotte World, which I thought was lucky. I paid less than $30 for something that would have cost closer to $60. It was a rainy day, so I was glad I had chosen all indoor things to do. It turned out to be quite the magical day for me, and I really wish to share my experience.

I honestly do not know what it was that day, but it was the first time in a long time I was bit by the creativity bug. I have always adored artsy things, such as dancing, singing, music, art, reading fiction, and writing fiction. However, I did not really see myself as an artist until my time at my university, where my professors and teachers poured into me, encouraged me, and opened my eyes to see that being an artist doesn’t necessarily mean we are strictly a painter, or writer, or dancer…Artists are people who create as they go through life. However, it had been a while since I had felt any sort of creative. Especially since coming here to Korea, I have not had any creative urges. It was startling to me since I thought Korea would open me up the way Japan had.

Yet, suddenly, that rainy, Sunday morning, in a cute AirBnB room, I found myself inspired to be creative. I left the room feeling like my eyes had been opened. The whole way to Lotte World, where I was beginning my day, was full of noticing and having a rain of ideas for my writing (and by writing, I mean my fiction writing). I was really impressed with the size of Lotte World, being an indoor theme park. It was like stepping into a small Disneyland in the way that it had its own character to its own stories (although Disney is much more magical, so it is hard to compare this place to Disney).

 

The first ride I rode there literally made me feel like I was flying. I’m sure the people sitting next to me could see my excitement as the VR experience took us on a fantasy flying journey. I loved that I felt the jerk of our flying machine and the splash of water from the waterfalls and wave spurts we flew past. It literally made me tear up because I was thinking, “This is how it would feel to fly.” I now tuck this experience in my pocket and will not be surprised if I see this experience pop up again and again in my stories.

It’s pretty funny my favorite ride was my first ride, but I still enjoyed my time in Lotte World. However, I left it after spending a few hours there to explore the Lotte World Mall (I was tired of waiting in lines and struggling to find the only rollercoaster in the place—had no luck). I wanted to go to Lotte World Mall only because I had seen one small picture on a random blog of a Totoro from Studio Ghibli’s My Neighbor Totoro. If you know me at all, you know I adore Studio Ghibli, or at least the movies I’ve seen (and I haven’t seen as many as there are). So here I was popping into random stores, only with a vague hope of finding something Totoro-themed.

I often feel like I am being guided when I explore. I somehow find my way more often than I should. I found the Mall only because I decided to go to the Aquarium (I thought I was already in the mall but it was just a department store). While I was on my way to the Aquarium in the Mall, I just would pop into random stores. I saw a glimpse of an interesting store a little ways away in a different direction than I was headed and decided to check it out. On my way there, I discovered the Studio Ghibli store. When I was looking for something Totoro-themed, I was not expecting this.

 

Studio Ghibli’s movies are some of the few movies out there that speak to something in me. My creativity? My love of art? My love of story? Whatever it is, I love the works of Miyazaki. So, discovering this store was a little too exciting for me and I spent quite a bit of time in there looking at everything. After I finally dragged myself out of the store, I found the Aquarium and went inside.

Just so you can fully grasp where I was coming from, I have only been to the aquarium in Tulsa, Oklahoma and an aquarium in Dallas, Texas. So, I did not have high hopes of spending a lot of time in this aquarium. I was not sure if it was worth the money. What I did not know was this would definitely be the high of my day. When I first entered, it seemed like every other aquarium I had been to (the whole two—haha). I was enjoying myself, even stood for a while to watch the otters, when I suddenly saw the exit.

Disappointed, I thought that this was another small aquarium. I was just about to leave, when I saw people coming up an escalator through a tunnel tank (typically known as shark tunnels except I did not see many sharks in any I saw there). There was no way down from where I was, but I knew that meant there was more to this aquarium than I had seen. So, I turned around and found the rest of the aquarium. I think from that moment on, my opinion of aquariums flew through the ceiling. This aquarium seemed to keep going. I saw my first whales, two Beluga whales, where I spent twenty to thirty minutes watching them swim. I walked through many tank tunnels. Finally, I found the largest tank I have ever seen full of fish swimming gracefully through the water. I was awestruck the whole time. I spent another long while sitting and gazing at this large tank until I checked the time to see it was 6pm. I was hungry, and so I reluctantly left my position and went in search of food, leaving behind this magical aquarium.

 

There was themed food at the top of the Mall, so I made my way up to the top floors. I was surprised to see so many familiar restaurants, but there were also restaurants from other parts of the world. I really enjoyed walking around the little village of food. It was impressive to see. I finally settled on a place I knew I would probably not experience in America, and went into a K-pop entertainment diner. I really enjoyed eating while listening to live music. After dinner, I went to Lotte Tower, where I was stumbled upon another show I thoroughly enjoyed. Then I decided to head back to my room.

 

All this to say, the whole day felt quite magical to me.

Since then, I have had a random creativity awaken in me. I wonder if solo trips often do this, and if so, maybe I should do it more often. On the train back home after my trip to Seoul was over, I was hit by the clearest picture of an idea for a drawing. Now, I have never, ever thought of myself as an artist in the sense of drawing at all. I used to love drawing and would do it all the time. I used to draw all the time. But I have literally only drawn once since my sophomore year of high school. I thought I had grown tired of drawing. I had no ideas or enjoyment while drawing anymore.

So, you can imagine the surprising I felt when this clear and strong idea for a drawing arose. I felt an urgency to create it. Even though I felt my drawing ability would not do it justice (because as said before, I have never seen myself as an artist in that way). So, despite of this, I spent the next ten hours after returning home drawing. It is not done, and not a masterpiece, but it makes me unexpectedly happy.

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I bring this up only to say that I still feel this strange electric zing! of creativity running through me. I do not want it to go just yet. I’m partially afraid my busy work schedule might stamp it out. However, I am also inspired by the inspiration. It reminds me of my dreams. It reminds me of the life I want to live. It reminds me I feel closest to God when I am creating, or appreciating another’s art, whether it be through art, dance, music, or reading and writing.

I think the point I have with this post is just to say I felt like I rediscovered my love for art and want to be an artist of life. Not in order to be the best, because I know I am not. But in order to give my best and glorify God through it all. I do not doubt at all that my inspiration comes from God. It is through Him I see everything else. This actually reminds me of a quote by C.S. Lewis: “I believe in Christ, like I believe in the sun—not because I can see it, but by it I can see everything else.”

This weekend I felt I was seeing everything through different eyes. I was allowing God to change how I saw things and because of this was able to fully enjoy the solo trip. A trip I was afraid I would not enjoy. I feel this post may be a bit awkward, but I really just wanted to share this experience. I really wanted to tell about this magical day. Maybe partially for the purpose of reminding myself of it later.

I really hope everyone can experience this joy throughout their lives. I can’t say my time in Korea has been easy, but it has definitely been quite the adventure so far! I do not regret my decision to come here for a second. I hope everyone can take those jumps that scare you and find you learn something from it. I have learned that with God that I am capable of much more than I ever thought I could. I can trust God knows what He is doing. I may not know what comes in my future, but God is my inspiration and I will keep following where He leads! One thing I know is God keeps waking up the dreamer in me. I just hope I allow God to help me to keep making those dreams realities!

Blessings!

Some other pictures of my time in Seoul:

 

—The Adversity Rose—

Kaitlyn Rose

DREAM. PURSUE. EXPERIENCE. GROW.

This blog will cover travel, personal growth, and life in general.