Why Compare Yourself to Others?

Updated: Oct 6, 2019

My little one, a five-year-old boy, approached me one day and said, "I wish we could live in another country so we could easily afford to buy those lifelike kitchen playsets." He was referring to the ones that he often sees in the YouTube channel being played by foreign kids who seem to come from rich countries like Canada and America. By the way, he is an aspiring chef :).

Immediately, I asked him, “What if you could allow mommy to work abroad so I can earn money to buy those expensive toys for you? To which he replied “No mommy, I don’t want you to leave me behind, but we can go and stay there for good, along with daddy and kuya.” I had to tell him, “You see my dear, we can’t always have everything that we wanted in life, but we can always be grateful and happy with whatever we already have.”

Comparing ourselves to others in terms of what they have or how they look; and what they have accomplished or experienced in the waking life is a common habit that most, if not all, of us are guilty of. I have to admit to this myself. There was a point in time when I was at the height of my depression and I began seeing myself as being less endowed than others in many aspects of my life. I was absolutely feeling low because of everything that I had been going through and comparing myself to others made me feel even worse.

Having this nagging feeling that we don’t deserve better things in life somehow gives us the impression that we are not actually created equally as what the religious teachings claim. Because we are inclined to think that others are more blessed than us, we tend to feel envious and unsatisfied with life as a whole. We forget that we also have our own share of blessings that we should be thankful of. More importantly, we fail to realize that those in better positions now could have gone through much worse circumstances before having achieved their current status in life.

Occupying yourself with thoughts of how different or similar you are to another individual is a total waste of time - unless you see the other person as an inspiration to be had. Otherwise, it can work against your morale and lower your self-esteem - leaving you with half-hearted motivation to move on any further. That self-judgment hinders your capacity to grow and develop whatever skills or talent you may already have for the taking.

On the other hand, seeing yourself as being much better than others and being overly proud of yourself could also backfire on you. You would not want to lose your support especially from the people whom you most admire and respect. Furthermore, too much confidence in oneself while disregarding others as equally competent persons in their own way, can lead anybody to become complacent and, consequently, lose in the end.

Being genuinely happy for others, especially when we are on the other side of the fence, is such an admirable act we can demonstrate at any given moment. When things are doing great for others, we can simply smile and try to be happy for them. After all, we all go through the ups and downs in life. Who knows what tomorrow brings? So, mind your own business - enjoy yourself and live your life to the full as much as you can. Life is a journey.

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