A lot of our suffering can be avoided if we stop comparing ourselves with others!
We have been conditioned to compare. Everything from our growing up years to our adulthood is about comparisons. Some years back a popular Unilever detergent brand Rin ran a TV commercial that had the line: “Bhala uski kameez meri kameez se safed kaise?” It means: “Wonder how his shirt is whiter (brighter) than mine?” That ad was immensely popular and signified how deeply comparisons have impacted our lives in a socio-cultural context. Our education system breeds comparisons at a very early stage when small children, who are barely able to speak, are ranked according to their “academic proficiency”. And as these children grow up and emerge from colleges to take up careers in the real world the comparisons only grow more rabid and vulgar – someone’s better looking than me, someone has a more beautiful wife or a bigger apartment or a swankier car or a better pay packet! The comparisons never seem to cease – what class do you travel by, what car do you drive, where do you shop, where do you dine, where do you educate your child – you go on and on. Soon, unwittingly, you have passed on the “method and malaise” of living with comparisons to the next generation.
Comparing does no one any good. Not to the one who compares nor to the one who is being compared with! In fact, comparison breeds jealousy. And jealousy leads to suffering!
When you understand Life better and think about it deeply you will see great value in my humble suggestion to stop comparing yourself with others. You are you. And the other is different from you. Period. Each Life is unique in creation. And each Life’s journey is different. There may be similarities but nothing is, and really no two lives are, identical. So, why compare something, your Life, that is incomparable?
Whenever you indulge in making comparisons, you can be assured that jealousy will raise its ugly head too. And jealousy is often a silent operator. It is not always very expressive or evident. But it subconsciously chews you up from within. It happens this way – your mind keeps on telling you to look at someone and compare. Soon, a painful pining sets in. “Look at him,” you say to yourself, “he’s having all the good things in Life despite having no scruples.” Or, “I deserve better than her because I have worked harder.” Or, “This is so unfair. I have never hurt a fly. But there’s so much pain in my Life. Everyone’s happier than I am.” All these thoughts, and more, are symptomatic of jealousy eating you up from within. When you are jealous you are obsessed with everyone else’s Life, but yours. How can you be happy then – especially when you are focussed on what you don’t have and what others have? To be sure, happiness comes only when you consider and celebrate what you have!
But you don’t have to despair. You are not alone in comparing, being jealous or being unhappy! Everyone else is living this way too. That’s really what’s making the world sadder and meaner. That’s also why people are suffering all over. The way out of this debilitating and depressive spiral is to stop comparing. The moment a thought arises in you – and be sure it will arise – urging you to compare yourself with another, order that thought out. Just ask yourself: “So what?” And tell or remind yourself: “Let everyone be happy!” Try this approach. It works brilliantly! You don’t have to do this for the sake of others. Do it for yourself. Because only when you are happy with yourself, the way you are, irrespective of how things and people are in the world, can you find inner peace!