Sophrosyne

How do you want to live your life?

Comparison

on January 25, 2013

‘Comparison is the thief of joy.’ – Theodore Roosevelt

It is human nature to compare ourselves to others despite the side effects of comparison. However, we compare for various reasons and sometimes, it does help to make us feel better when we compare ourselves to those who have less than us. When we engage in this type of comparison, more commonly known as downward comparison, we are attempting to make ourselves feel better by putting others down. I know this is a very crude form of explanation but very often the outcome is positive. It helps us see what we already have in our lives and allow us to be grateful for the wonderful people and things we have.

But today I am not focusing on that side of comparison, like a coin, comparison has another flip side, called upward comparison. Sometimes people engage in it to motivate themselves but very often people do it unknowingly. When was the last time you thought to yourself about something that someone has that you do not have. Instead of motivating you to work harder, you started to wish you had more and end up feeling upset and dissatisfied with your life? There is a monster in all of us called greed, we always want more and better. Well, I used the word all instead of some of us because I believe that it is a human trait but not many people are willing to accept that. It is this monster that sits on top of our conscience and prevents us from seeing what we already have. Instead, it constantly points out what we don’t have.

So, how to we overcome this? Since it is in our nature to compare? In my humble experience, I learn that one needs to accept that comparison has no end. There will always be someone better or worse than yourself so what is the point. If we insist on comparing, we are wasting a very precious resource – time. Time that could have been used on finding ways to make our lives better! Time that should be spent with loved ones and friends. In the end, the only person that is really going to be missing out is yourself.

Essentially I am saying this to you. You choose the life that you want to live. You can choose to make the best of what you have, where you are. And the last step is: Just live already! Be happy that you have done your best and enjoy it! There is no end to this comparison game. If you insist on it, you will only end up frustrated and angry with life. So, which path will you choose? To me, the choice seem obvious enough. But ultimately, it is how you want to live and remember, others do not live your life, you do! And happiness is a choice, you need to want to choose it!

 

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