Do you make yourself unhappy by comparing too much? – 4 Dec 12

Happiness

Yesterday I wrote about our massage therapist and mentioned that she is a happy and open person about whom you would not think that she was illiterate. She really does the best of her life, even if she did not have the chance of a good education. When pointing this out, I had to think of all the people who have so many more opportunities in life than she has but decide to be unhappy nevertheless. How come they are unhappy? They compare themselves constantly to others whom they believe to be having a better life.

That is a problem of quite a lot of people and sometimes they don’t even realize that this is the real reason of their unhappiness. They sit around, watching others and pity themselves that they don’t have as much as them. It is usually simply about money, wealth and financial success but is sometimes even extended to non-material achievements. How come he is so rich while doing nothing and I have to work and still don’t earn as much? Look at her, she has so many friends and all of her relatives love her while I have only one friend and all members of my family keep fighting with each other! And my neighbours are on holidays again – how many times a year can they afford to travel like this?

This and other comparisons can be heard, sometimes open and more often well hidden behind other statements. A fuelling factor to such a point of view is in my opinion a high amount of time spent in front of a TV, especially watching soap operas. Something that is the main means of entertainment for a lot of people is in my eyes responsible for many people’s unhappiness. Someone who tends to compare his own life to the life of others, sees the perfect life of the people on the screen and longs to have their lives. It is and remains a fake world however and one can never reach there. If you try to be like the people on TV, your life will never be completely satisfactory. Their life is not real and it won’t fulfill you. You will remain comparing and finding faults in your own life.

What is the cure to this problem though? Many people like to give the following advice: look at those who don’t have as much as you have! Well, yes, of course that can help! If you have ever seen someone who really suffers of hunger, you will think twice before complaining that you don’t have the money to go eating out every weekend! But it is not a long-time solution! You will still keep on comparing to those who can eat out daily! That won’t make you happy on the long run.

No, I believe that the only solution is to stop comparing. The real issue is not that you are comparing yourself to the wrong person. The problem is that you are focusing on the outside, looking at what others have. Instead you should look at your own life and see what you have! Look inside your heart and realize that you are wonderful just as you are. Then look at what you have and tell me honestly, isn’t it enough? Are you not alive and don’t you have love in your life? You should be able to enjoy being yourself without having to compare anything with others.

We all are different and we all have different needs. When we focus however on our real self, we will realize that we are happy with just who we are and don’t need to look at anybody else.

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