I’ve written before (a number of times) about the comparison trap… and contemplated the impact it can have on our confidence and happiness.
My recent post about happiness and success circled around this very issue and I found myself contemplating it even more so as I responded to comments.
It’s something I struggle with BIG TIME. And I know I’m not alone in that.
I’ve long been one to be kinda happy with my ‘lot’ in life until I look across the street. And see what they have. Or what they do. And whatever might have made me happy just minutes earlier is now not enough. Nor – usually – am I.
The place I had prior to my seachange was lovely. I wasn’t a high flyer career-wise, but I was on a good wicket and held interesting and edgy jobs. I’d spent 15-20yrs working hard to be where I was.
However… I’d look around me and there were those with AMAZING houses, fancy cars, doing fabulous things career-wise or came as a package deal with the husband, kids and white picket fence. And I’d look back at what I had and decided it wasn’t enough.
And then I made my seachange – which I hoped would short-circuit those desires.
Sadly I was still ‘me’. And though I was kinda happy with my nice car and lovely apartment on the beach I’d look back at those from my old world, earning more money and taking on new jobs. I’d look at those jetting off overseas and I’d bemoan my lack of salary and few job options. Although I was more contented in general, life felt unfair. When I compared it to others.
However… one day I was at my mother’s. She lives in a neighbouring town and it’s where I grew up. And I sat at an intersection in my little car and watching a woman on a bike. I recognised her from my childhood as the mother of someone I knew from school. I remembered even then (30+yrs ago) feeling sorry for this boy and his family, who had little.
I sometimes feel overwhelmingly sad when I think about how hard others have it. And yet… I continue to ONLY compare myself to those who are more fortunate. To those with MORE than I have. Rarely do I compare myself to those with less – of whom there are many.
I should know better.
Indeed, I used to work in international aid and development and am now part of a World Vision bloggers’ group receiving news and information about their work in the developing world.
I talked to a psychologist recently about the whole ‘identifying three things you’re grateful for each day’ things people do in diaries or on social media. It works she told me. It means we develop the habit of gratitude. Of reminding ourselves of our good fortune rather than focusing on the bad.
And it’s something I most definitely need to work on.
Do you fall into the comparison trap more than you should? Do you ever think to look at those with less?
I’ve joined Leanne from Deep Fried Fruit and some other bloggers to help promote “ageing positively” and the Lovin’ Life mindset across the interwebs. You can link up via any one of us!