We like to compare wherever we go. How much I earn versus how much you earn. What I’ve got versus what you have. It goes on and on.
On Facebook, we see our friends and family members living their best lives. We see pictures of friends’ children, weddings, and all the splendid adventures that they’ve been on.
And often times, we compare what we got to what they got. We compare our mundane lives to their Facebook lives. And the inequality of how happy they seem comes back to haunt us.
These coronavirus times are quite the same. I’m personally grateful that I am able to work from home. That I’m able to still have food on the table. That I’m quarantined in the house with my parents and my cousin to keep me company.
I’m grateful that I’m not one of the courageous hospital care workers that are on the frontlines of this disaster. I commend them from afar and from the comfort of my own home.
I am grateful to have this life and to not be infected with the coronavirus. Often times, I compare my life with those that are “less fortunate” and come away feeling better about myself.
I must admit, that I’m struggling with the need to compare what I’ve got to what others have or have not. It’s a human condition to say the least.
Sometimes, there is a need to compare in a world that is relative. It’s okay to realize that you are a “have” in a world that is filled with “have-nots”.
And it’s nice that these types of comparison can help you foster a sense of gratitude that can maintain your inner well-being.
I’ve been taking that popular Yale class, The Science of Well-Being, on Coursera these days. And Professor Laurie Santos teaches us the dangers of social media and comparing our mundane real lives with the “best” lives on social media feeds.
It can be damaging to our psyche and lead to less happiness. But, when you compare the other way around to the people that are struggling out there, you can at least have a sense of appreciation for where you are at in this world.
I feel kind of guilty doing this because it makes me seem entitled. Why am I feeling good at the expense of others?
I wish I could have an easy answer and just not compare myself with the multitude of ordeals that others are going through this world. But, the news these days is all about negative events.
The amount of deaths inflicted upon the USA, especially in New York City. The amount of new hospitalizations, and all the turmoil that is happening around the hospitals of this world.
It’s an endless stream of negative feed, and sometimes I admittedly can’t stomach to read the news on a constant basis. I need to be informed, but don’t want to foster a sense of anxiety neither.
But again, all the negative news feeds makes me realize how fortunate I am to still have food on the table, to have a roof over my head, to have general physical health, and to be able to simply stay home to hopefully ride out this wave.
It’s a blessing, and I am truly grateful. And my condolences to those who have lost loved ones or friends from this current pandemic.
Again, I wish I didn’t have to compare my well-being to the hardships of others in order to gain this sense of appreciation. But, at least it is affecting me in a positive manner.
Comparisons are everywhere. And yes, they can be damaging if used in the incorrect way. If you constantly compare yourself to some unachievable ideal on Facebook, Twitter, or the general social media, you will most likely feel lacking and insufficient.
But if you compare your well-being to those who are lesser off, then hopefully you will garner a sense of relief and gratitude. The trick is not to get carried away in an arrogant manner.
Yes, it’s not the best way to achieve gratitude. And ideally, it would be nice if we could achieve gratitude without the need to compare and contrast with others, but the least we can do when we compare is to realize that we all have quite a lot in this world.
Yes, even during this pandemic, we are blessed with a lot of things that can give us happiness and contentment. Professor Santos says that writing down just 5 things that you are grateful for every day can go a long way towards satisfaction.
So, if you need to compare your life with others, at least do it in a way that can help generate a sense of appreciation for the present moment and for life as a whole.