What a Happiness Waste
I spend way too much time comparing myself to others. You probably do too. We’re taught to do this from the moment we show signs of comprehension. Comparisons are demonstrated to us and advertising is lavishly designed to get this point across from every conceivable angle. No wonder I’m so good at it!
That’s why I’m focusing on some projects to help me get off this crazy treadmill and back into the place where I happily exist without spending a second thinking about what I might be lacking. Because that’s ultimately what comparing oneself to others shines a light on; lack. Oh no, not always. But mostly.
There is a right way to do it
Here’s an exception. This morning a friend posted a link to a post about a new book that shows the bedrooms of children from all over. Take a look for yourself. (link opens a nice NYTimes blog post with slideshow of a dozen images – some shown below).
What’s great about having an opportunity about getting a sneak peak into private spaces like this is the chance to look at the child and the bedroom and guess if we would have envisioned reality like this. From this we naturally compare our own sleeping quarters or that of our own children and draw comparisons. This is where it gets interesting. Maybe we believe these children are less happier than our own. Or maybe we think they’re more happy. But we also have an opportunity to consider maybe they are both happier and unhappier in different ways. At this point the comparison doesn’t really matter – because we come to know that how we feel about what we have or have made is entirely up to us.
Research illuminates the concept of comparison even further. Apparently once you get to what you consider the median point of wealth within your community no matter how much more is bestowed upon you – your levels of satisfaction and happiness do not rise! Not one bit. Check it out here. The World Database of Happiness Research web site.
To let go of comparisons that decrease my happiness. So while I am obligated to have my work compared with other work in the process of jurying into art shows – I don’t have to own any bit of the related subjective opinions endemic within those comparisons.
I’ll post occasional updates on how extracting comparisons from my day to day life path is going. I’ll write about challenges, setbacks and everything else that might cause me to succeed or backtrack. After all, mine is an incomparable life. So is yours.