“Comparison is an act of violence against the self.” Iyanla Vanzant, an American inspirational speaker and lawyer.
Very early in life we start comparing ourselves to others, little realizing that each of us is an individual with characteristic strengths and of course weaknesses.
My children would come home from a friends’ place and harangue me to buy the toy or game similar to the one their friend had. “Jerry has a Play Station and we don’t have one! That’s not fair! Why can’t we get one?”
It was a habit I did not want them to develop. Very gently I told them, “If you have the same things that Jerry has, how will you ever enjoy playing at his place? If everyone has the same things, would there be any fun, enjoyment or novelty?” I guess that worked well for them.
Comparing ourselves to others only invites unhappiness, low-esteem and disappointment. The mind goes into an endless loop of thinking of the things others have and we don’t. This creates an unnecessary burden on the mind and valuable time is spent on useless thoughts.
We actually end up comparing our weakness to someone else’s strength. There is no equation there, nothing worth comparing. Each of us is unique, with our unique set of strengths and that is what we must focus on.
How should we help ourselves and refrain from such thoughts? Here are some things I practice and there is much more one can do.
I have been fascinated by the Danish concept “hygge”, pronounced as “heu-ga” and I practice it. What does it mean? It essentially is feeling a sense of contentment or well-being by enjoying the simple things in life.
Imagine sitting in your cosy corner with a cup of coffee and looking out of the window to see the breeze gently blowing the leaves on the trees or the world passing by. That’s hygge.
Invest time in yourself as it keeps mind off other things. Dedicate a couple of hours everyday to do what you enjoy.
Do something new; it is good for the brain. Upgrade your skills or take up a course to learn something that you have always wanted to.
Remember Day 2? Focus on your strengths and on what you want to do next.
As your self esteem improves, you will never feel the need to compare yourself with others. You will feel a sense of satisfaction, accomplishment and triumph.
Next up is ‘Day 13: I See Red‘