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– save yourself the pain of comparing
Why do we compare?
Duality – good or bad
With the human mind comes duality. Without the mind, there is no duality, no good or bad. Pain & pleasure are a bit bodily already, but it’s still the human mind (ego) that labels those sensations as good and bad. All our (Western) lives we are trained in the dual way of (goal/material oriented) thinking. Maybe in the East, it’s a little different (existential/spiritual orientated) but in both ways people are going for the good, avoiding the bad. Good and bad however are based on comparison.
Mind/memory is comparison, fear-driven
The mind stores experiences and assess new situations through comparison. Our instincts/brain/ego want to protect us from pain (death) so they label situations as good or bad. And your whole live you are collecting assessed experiences and situations. The mind, therefore, is primary “living” in the past – comparing with old experiences – and projecting into the future. With projecting into the future fear sneaks in. Fear of what might happen, fear of bad things happening (missing self-gratification).
Social structures are based on comparison, value driven
Put human (animals) together and social structure arise. Those structures are based on standards, common values, and rules. You “belong” if you comply. Appearance, behavior, religion, communication etc are compared. Well, we all know what happens next. The world is full of conflicts because of this comparison and judging.
Competition is based on comparison, economy driven
Survival of the fittest is based on comparison. You assess if the other is bigger/stronger/more dangerous and then you fight/flight/freeze. Competition for a mate is based on comparison. Social structures are based on comparison because of the model of scarce resources (money/skills). The more competition, the more comparison. The more you want to grow in earnings, memberships, facebook likes, prestige, the more you compare (yourself).
If you compare you almost always “lose”
If you compare always a good-bad feeling kicks in. An objective comparison is more or less okay, but that’s seldom the case. With subjective comparison mostly a good or bad feeling kicks in. It could start with a good feeling, but eventually it all colors deep dark. There always someone, something better (to think of).
Compare situations / organisation / nations
Well, what can I say? The world is full of conflict. Always was, maybe always will. The big reason for this is comparison. Social structures always tend to rate themselves as better than others (few exceptions). We also have a tendency wanting to change the other / convert the other to our “better” standards. Are there good and bad standards? Should we compare? Set goals? Personally – even in this article- I tend to say yes. I know it’s cultural colored but I say that human rights, democracy, food, healthcare etc are basics (universal standards) in a world growing in Love and Consciousness. But still, rigid comparison leads to conflict, war, and disaster.
Compare your achievements
Are you the richest or most successful (wo)men in the world? The most influential? Do you have the best job possible? The biggest house/car/TV? Goals are great, I have nothing against them. But reaching the goal doesn’t make you happy. Because a reached goal is immediately replaced with another (unreachable) goal. So after a while, you feel inadequate again. Even Alexander the Great was deeply disappointed after conquering the world.
It’s never enough!
Comparison leads to more and more and more
You may not realize it, but you’ve been comparing yourself to others your entire life. We all do it and there’s no shame or blame in it, but it’s not particularly useful for happiness. One of the easiest ways to feel bad about oneself is to compare yourself unfavorably to others. We may be tempted to compare ourselves with those who have more accomplishments, seem more attractive, make more money, or boast more Facebook friends. When you find yourself envious of what someone else has, and feel jealous, inferior or inadequate as the result, you’re having a negative social comparison moment.
Comparing undermines your self-esteem. Going for the best makes you feel inadequate. If you want it all, jealousy kicks in. Comparing sooner or later leads to misery!
- There’s always someone / somewhere / something better.
- It’s never enough.
“To be beautiful means to be yourself.
You don’t need to be accepted by others.
You need to accept yourself.”
– Thich Nhat Hanh –
Comparison isn’t always “bad”
Comparison can be very inspiring and lead to great change. Human rights, equal rights all originated from comparison. Comparison can be a strong motivator for action and change. But you could also argue that this was needed because we compare and judge, always think in terms of good and bad.
Personal holiday experience
It happened that I was travelling in the Philippines. I struggled some time with the troubles of comparison. At first the weather wasn’t good, always clouded, lots of rain. I compared it with India/Goa (1 cloudy/rainy day a month) and wasn’t happy. Then I compared the places and rooms I had. Nothing was good enough!! Big room without wifi. Small room, with wifi, but noisy. Bad weather, no restaurants, great but expensive… Always something missing in comparison with my wish list and thus always something to complain about. When I realize this I stopped comparing. Every place has it’s pro’s and con’s. So I focused on the con’s. It made me happy, wherever I was.
How to deal with comparison?
Get out of the Rat race
Social structures are predominant. The economic standard is predominant. Material growth, accumulating more and more (Facebook friends/likes). Stop it! At least disconnect yourself from it. It’s nothing personal, it’s a game. So don’t take it personally anymore and play the game! Do everything you do with absolute awareness. While playing the game, make sure that your actions are loving. That helps you to set boundaries. Look lovingly, act lovingly!
Let it be – enjoy life just the way it is
A perfect world is nonexistent in dual thinking. There’s always pain and pleasure. But understand it well, you have a choice! The world is what you make of it. The world is until you make something out of it. So either don’t label, label less or label more and more positive. Say yes, focus on the match…
And if it really doesn’t fit you. Change your thoughts/job/partner/situation.
Happiness happens when you fit with your life
Get your priorities straight
Survival of the fittest? Do you want to be the biggest, strongest, best? Going for ultimate financial success? Want to have more and more material stuff? Or going for spiritual goals and doing everything to get enlightened. Searching, searching, coming nowhere and still disappointed? Are you going for more money, power or prestige Osho would say? Or are you going for happiness! Choose what you want and you’ll get it. Whatever you do, get your priorities straight.
Cherish what you have
Change the game. Not more and more, but thankful for what you already have. Desire what you have, have what you desire… Become aware of your desires. Do an inquiry regularly. Knowing your heart desires creates your future (Law of Attraction). So enjoy your desires and let go. Accept what comes. Always look on the bright side of life and focus on what’s there for you.
Peel the onion
Human conditioning is very extensive. We have many layers of conditioning around who we really are:
- Image / imago.
- Patterns of thinking/feeling/behavior.
- Basic rules (standards/values/norms).
- Negative beliefs (something is wrong with me).
Peeling the onion is a personal growth process. Key in this process is your growth in Love and Consciousness. It isn’t good and bad, it’s all that you make of it. So get to know (and get rid of most of) your conditioning.
Let your body decide, here and now, if it’s okay, if it resonates (matches) with you. We all known that preferences can change. The food you hated as a child can be delicious now. So sort of erase your memory. Don’t let your mind interfere with your experiences. Let your higher mind (consciousness / loving presence) take over. Trust your senses, enjoy your senses!
Inner motives all come from the heart. Your heart knows… So listen more to the voice of your heart. Start with heart meditation and tune into the frequency of the heart. You will find wisdom, you will find your heart’s desires, you will even find your soul’s purpose. It’s not a goal, it’s a journey.
Enjoy the journey
Stop focussing on the end, a goal. Focus on the journey and enjoy. Sure having goals is okay, just like desires. But just set your goal, tell the world and let go. Accept whatever comes. Be flexible and adjust. Be aware, assess the situation and adapt. Always give a response from within and respect whatever is. It’s done anyway, so what to do? Reset the course and destination and enjoy the ride.
Life is uncertain. You don’t know what’s going to happen. You don’t know what’s in store for you. But believe me, you don’t even need to know. Your life is part of a divine plan. A plan much bigger than any human can understand. Trust life, trust love. And I don’t mean in a childish way. No, keep on using your full potential (brain).
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