I'm (Sort-Of) Happy for You: Why Constant Comparison Can Damage Your Health

From the Show: HER
Summary: What is the culture of comparison?
Air Date: 6/18/15
Duration: 10
Host: Michelle King Robson and Pam Peeke, MD
Guest Bio: Kay Wyma, Author
Kay Wyma Kay Wills Wyma, author, blogger and speaker, has five kids, ages seven to 18, and one SUV with a lot of carpool miles. Before transitioning to the role of stay-at-home mom, she held positions at the White House, The Staubach Company and Bank of America.

In 2012, Wyma courageously tackled the issue of youth entitlement in her first book, Cleaning House: A Mom's 12 Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement. She has been featured on The TODAY Show, CNN-HLN, the Glenn Beck Show and Focus on the Family, among many others. She attended Baylor University and the Thunderbird School of Global Management. She and her husband Jon and their five kids live in Dallas.
  • Book Title: I'm Happy for You (Sort Of...Not Really): Finding Contentment in a Culture of Comparison
I'm (Sort-Of) Happy for You: Why Constant Comparison Can Damage Your Health
In a world where you're constantly racing throughout life to be the best, when someone else like a friend, family member, or co-worker succeeds, you might find it hard to feel happy for them.

You might want to consider changing your attitude.

Excessively comparing yourself to others and constantly competing against everyone around you can cause you to lose sight of your own happiness.

Is there a way you can rid constant comparison in your life?

Author Kay Wyma shares why culturally, we are a society that thrives on comparison and competition and how that can actually be damaging to your health.

RadioMD Presents:HER Radio | Original Air Date: June 18, 2015
Host: Michelle King Robson and Pam Peeke, MD

RadioMD. RadioMD.com. And now HER Radio with founder and CEO of EmpowHer.com, Michelle King Robson and New York Times Best Selling Author and leading women's health care expert, Dr. Pam Peeke on RadioMD.

DR. PAM: Do you ever find yourself comparing yourself with other people? Come on, Michelle. You know? Everything.

MICHELLE: Like what?

DR. PAM: Like the car, boobs, I don't know. Whatever.

MICHELLE: Christmas tree lights.

DR. PAM: Christmas tree lights – yes, the biggest ones. I am reading USA Today and I read this fabulous op-ed by author Kay Wyma. That's W-Y-M-A for everybody out there. It turns out she is a fabulous writer, real edgy. She wrote a book. I am so excited, both of us are, Michelle, for this segment. The name of the book is--get this all of us out there in HerRadio land, here's the name-- I'm Happy For You (Sort of...Not Really): Finding Contentment In A Culture of Comparison. Kay, welcome to HerRadio. We want to talk about what is a culture of comparison and why did you write this book?

KAY: First of all, ya'll are so fun. Thanks for having me. I love a good laugh in the middle of the day and talking to adults because I don't get to do that.

DR. PAM: You're also, in case nobody can figure it out, you're living in Texas now, ya'll. I heard that one. She's just dropping those "ya'lls" right and left. Tell us what is the culture of comparison? Tell us about the book.

KAY: We live in the culture of comparison. Just even listening to the tailend of your segment before. We compare ourselves to ourselves and compare pregnancies to the previous pregnancies and gauge our worth against everything imaginable. This book is really kind of calling that stuff out. Admitting it and, hopefully, pulling back the veil on all of these areas where it is so sneaky and tries to hide itself and rob and steal our joy in the midst of things where we should be able to find contentment. It is sneakily ripped away from us just by society that's around us. Technology doesn't help us a whole lot in this area with social media the way that it is.

MICHELLE: What do you mean by the social media?

KAY: A kind of thought process that people are living out loud. It is turned in with everything being plastered for us to interact with all the time. It is like a performance based living, in a sense. We're getting to see everybody's highlight reels and we assume that's their reality, when in most cases, it's a good picture of what is going on and not necessarily everything that is going on. If we compare our regular to everybody else's highlight reel, it's hard to be content in those moments even when we know that it's a highlight reel. Like, even today, we can go online at any point and you can see your friend taking a picture of herself with her feet in front of that lovely ocean. And it's like, "I'm so not at the ocean."

MICHELLE: Why is she doing that? How come she gets to go to the ocean and I can't?

KAY: I know and it's funny that we just instantly do that and it's kind of where our thoughts go. That's where I just watched it in my kids. It's zapping their joy for them. They are in school and watching it every day. They walk in that building and are bombarded with performance pressures, let alone the pressure from the people standing next to them with the "what do you gets". And then all of us in the carpool line wondering, "if my kids okay?" "Are they better than your kid?" Because everything is supposed to be better, right? We're supposed to be the best.

MICHELLE: Smarter.

KAY: All of those words that are just brutal. I remember saying something to my friend and she is like, "Man, I'm so sorry you struggle with that." I was like, "I do," and thinking, "Do you not?" And later she came up to me and said, "You know, I said that to you and then I went straight to Starbucks." She had played tennis with some friends of hers and she was sitting down with them and she got a Frappuccino and then looked at them and they are size 2 and she's not a size 2.

She said she couldn't even enjoy the conversation because she was so wrapped up in what exercise they had done and what she should have been doing. It was slightly toxic and it didn't have to be toxic. She called me instantly and she was like, "Man, I didn't know I did that but it ruined my entire time with my friends."

DR. PAM: But, you know, it is so easy to go into the shoulda, coulda, wouldas and she was in the shoulda exercise and it is a slippery slope that so many of us do. You mentioned the social media. I think it's huge. You want that Pinterest worthy holiday décor to splay it all over the internet. At the same time, Instagram is immediately showing people at the beach and all of this stuff back and forth. After a while you want to feel as though you don't have to keep getting sucked into all of that. What do you recommend to people so that they don't go down those slippery slopes? What are you saying in your book?

KAY: One thing that is at the beginning and I really do find this helps. I kind of feel like if it can help my teenage daughter, it can help anyone. I think we are all just a flesh wound away from insecurities coming with middle school. It is all right there. In that moment, it's control.

It is like a mental reboot – like your computer reboot – like the Control, Alt, Delete. Control - when you are walking out of that grocery store and you see the beautiful kitchen that you are supposed to have that doesn't necessarily match your kitchen – stop it right there. Don't wish for that stainless steel side by side. It's like, "Yours is okay." It's controlling it. Alt - getting an alternate perspective.

I think that is huge. For women, body image is so prevalent in our comparison. In our striving after to be something. There is a funny saying that floats around the internet that says, "I wish I was as fat as the first time I thought I was fat". Because if you go back to those times, you realize that it wasn't that bad.

MICHELLE: You weren't that fat. In fact, you weren't fat at all.

KAY: The truth is, ten years from now you are going to look back and think that about today. So, why not live in today and the joy of today? There is one perspective. Another is what I call the "glimpse" in the book which is kind of as you are entering into these highlight reels, realize that is just a picture and on the other side of that are real people that are dealing with the same things that you are dealing with and then it starts to breathe life into that situation. Understanding that you are not alone; that everyone is struggling. That momentary picture that looks so great is a picture. I've even gone back on my own phone and looked at pictures from years ago, even during those times that were super hard, realizing that there were smiles in those moments. Get a different perspective.

Delete – just stop. Stop doing it. It's not something that I don't think we can completely obliterate from our lives, but we sure can find joy in the midst.

MICHELLE: And women are so – we're so hard on ourselves any way. We have to get to a place where we can enjoy ourselves and love ourselves and quit beating ourselves up.

KAY: And encourage the person next to us.


DR. PAM: It's self-compassion.

KAY: I love that.

DR. PAM: It's really self-compassion at the end of the day. It's also self-forgiveness. I didn't hit the gym yesterday – get over it. Move it along, make adjustments. Show some self-love and, it's funny, I think also you mentioned in the book that faith and family is now replaced by fame and fortune.


DR. PAM: We're starting to go to that awful place. But, you know, when it comes to women – when you mentioned body image – it's all over the place. When you see these bodies that are Adobe Photoshopped right and left and up and down. It just makes you crazy. So, Kay, you have just been fabulous helping us understand the whole issue of comparisons and the toxicity associated with it. Everyone, we've been talking to Kay Wyma.

She is the author of I'm Happy For You (Sort of...Not Really): Finding Contentment In A Culture of Comparison. This is a topic that all of us have to stay on top of. Thanks Kay. I'm Dr. Pam Peeke with Michelle King Robson.

MICHELLE: You can go to Kay's website themoatblog.com. You're listening to HER Radio on RadioMD. Follow us on Twitter. Like us on Facebook. Stay well.