Comparing apples and oranges

Apples and oranges

What’s the one thing we all have in common? We all have MS! Because of that we are united…we are one. It affects each one of us differently and we are all in different stages of progression, but MS is the one commonality that brings us together.

Even though we all have MS in common, one of the worst things you can do is to try and compare your pain, your struggle, your difficulties with someone else’s. The reason I say this is because you will always be comparing your inner weaknesses with their outer strengths. That’s like trying to compare an apple with an orange. Once you get past the fact that they are both fruits, there is nothing left to compare. They are as different as different can be. They will never, ever, EVER match or fit.

On the outside I may look strong and confident to many people. I appear to have life by the horns and no problems riding out this disease and all that life throws my way. You may be someone that looks at me and thinks “I wish I could be so positive, but my life is just too hard and the pain is too real. I just can’t do it.” And as the tears begin to fall, you feel like a failure.

But if you looked past those strengths you see in me, you would see great weaknesses. I cry, worry, am fearful, full of self-doubts and insecure. Just yesterday I was sitting on the couch in a puddle of tears because I spent too much time reflecting back on the good ole days. Those days when I could just go and do anything I wanted, and had people to go and do them with. I have always been the type of person who feels deep and lives hard. That can be both a blessing and a curse.

One of the most amazing things about each one of us is that one of my greatest weaknesses may be one of your greatest strengths. But, do you know what? That’s what makes us individuals. It makes me, me and you, you. We balance each other out. That’s why we need each other to get through this journey living with a chronic illness. Something I say may inspire you to keep going and something you say may inspire me.

No matter what you do, you can always find someone else in this world that has more than you, is better than you, and is stronger than you. But you can also find those that have less than you, are worse off than you, and are weaker than you. You simply can’t win at comparing.

Mark Twain was right when he said “comparison is the death of joy.”

Your life is the one that you are living, so stop comparing it to others. Instead, compare yourself to you. Look at how far you’ve come in life, how much you’ve overcome, grown, and know. Look at the things you’ve learned and the wisdom you’ve gained because of the struggles you’ve experienced and the joys you’ve known. Those things are incredible. They make you, YOU!

Pause and reflect back…I think you will be amazed at what you see.

Live the life that you have and be proud of the person you are. Don’t be concerned with what other people are doing or not doing, how they’re living, or how great they seem on the outside. Don’t beat yourself up because someone else appears to be stronger, better, and faster. On the inside, it just might be the opposite is true.

Focus on who you are and being the best you that you can be. That’s all that matters anyway.

MS Gets on My NervesMS WarriorMS Superhero  

About the Author
About the Author
Penelope Conway

Penelope Conway
Penelope started Positive Living with MS as a way to help others with MS stay positive in the midst of a terrible disease. She believes that staying positive and holding onto hope is the key to waking up each morning with the strength to get through the day. Multiple Sclerosis may never go away, but neither will her determination and her drive to help others through the journey.

34 replies
  1. Sandra voitka
    Sandra voitka says:

    The words connect deeply. Today I felt like the monster is chasing with a message out of the blue from someone who has MS. I was very low and you picked me up from miles away. I stopped even longer today to talk to someone, to help them to be heard. That strength reminded me no matter how down I feel there is someone else that need a helping hand MS or something else….and I can give that….like you do every day. I have value and a mission.

  2. Sue Broadfoot says:

    PROUD !!!!!!


  3. Rodger Ashton-Smith
    Rodger Ashton-Smith says:

    Yes we are all different but we have a common monster changing the way we live by. We are a reminate group and can talk to each other about how we are. And it seems that it doesn’t really matter if you have different symptoms it still fits.
    I have written about our normality, that it’s now changed from what is was. So don’t dwell on what you have lost, just what you have now.

  4. Mary Devereux says:

    I am battling to keep working and to keep driving i know i am about to hit a wall but i keep hearing that line “but you look so well “how i detest that word

  5. Gemma Harris says:

    Big hugs for you. The only plus is that you have a whole gang of us that love you and who you help on a daily basis with your posts. At least we get it. Xxx

  6. Liz Gordon says:

    Keep on doing! I hope that on your ‘bad’ days all of us here give you as much compassion, strength and understanding as you give us.
    Thank you

  7. Amy Butler says:

    Thank you so much for pushing past! Many times that I laugh aloud my husband asks “Is it Positive Living?” Even with all you deal with physical, mental, etc. You light up our world. We consider you a good friend and the memories that you are making now are ahhmazing ❤

  8. Judith H. Martinez says:

    Penelope, I read your posts daily. I rarely comment though. I am so grateful to you for all you do for me. I’m sorry that we have met under these circumstances. Please stay strong even if that means having a cry, a pity party, or whatever once on a while.

  9. Stacy Neuman says:

    I see your weaknesses as strengths that carry you through, I’m glad you have a community to support and we will support you back. I do the same thing, sit and cry and miss what used to be. I miss that me that could just enjoy a baseball game without thinking about it. Your never alone we all understand. Big warm hugs xxxx

  10. Crestifer Hughes says:

    your humor and honesty about your struggles and those that many of us face is why i keep coming back to this page.

    you are awesome. inspirational, hilarious, authentic, and awesome.

    thank you for taking the time out of your day to make these posts, i hope you know how much you help so many of us.

  11. Leah
    Leah says:

    I compare myself to a banana and depending on it’s level of ripeness, I can be firm…
    strong-willed on the inside yet I can also be mushy…an emotional wreck. I have freckles like a banana and when peeled back only then can you tell what I am on that specific day. Thank you Penelope:)

  12. Sue Robertson says:

    I’m sure it’s easier for those around when you put on the happy confidant face but to know the real you is an honour which must mean we’re all real friends, and know you can be whoever you want to be and change throughout the day amongst friends xxx

  13. Tammy Reehl says:

    I have chronic pain and fatigue. I woke up today, and had to put ice pack on back…it is short term relief…
    People look at me and can see the pain…I continue to bath myself in God’s Word, and rest in Him..Weather in bed or around others.. psalms 46:1 says..God is my refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble…thank you Lord for the comfort we receive in Your Word..hugs to all my ms sisters..❤

  14. Odette van Straalen says:

    You’ve hit the nail on the head again Penelope. You’re our hero, we love you and know you love us back. I thank the Universe for you and your wonderful knowledge, compassion and truth. Bless you lovely lady..x

  15. Iffat Nosheen says:

    I live on the other side of planet but we share the pain.i know how u feel, wht keeps u awake at 3 am,why u hesitate to do certain thing u were doing before.but u give me strenght tht i can do it too,Penelope.

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