by Leo Babauta
One of the biggest sources of discontent is comparing yourself to other people, or your life to what you see others doing. Or what you’ve accomplished compared to what others have done.
I find people comparing themselves to me all the time: they want to be as successful, or as simple, or as happy with their families, or as bald. (OK, the last one isn’t true.)
Of course, they are comparing themselves to a fantasy. In real life, I’m not what they think I am. And in reality, no one you see is what you think they are — you only see certain parts of the story, the good parts, and rarely see the person’s doubt and anguish and discontent. People don’t share their warts and hemorrhoids, just the great pictures of their food and vacation and children.
So you’re comparing yourself to a fantasy, an illusion, and of course the reality of your life (and who you are) comes up wanting. This exercise is worse than useless — it’s actually harming you because you are less content as a result of the comparison.
Whenever you find yourself comparing the good parts of someone else’s life to the bad parts of yours, or thinking what you could be doing instead, stop yourself. Just stop. You are actively hurting yourself, and that’s not a compassionate act.
Instead, look at what you’re doing right now, and be happy with that. What you’re doing now can be (and probably is) amazing. Appreciate the gift of this moment. It’s a miracle.
Think about the times you’ve compared yourself to others, and what others are doing, especially recently. Where did you get the image of others that you’re comparing yourself to? Social media or apps, news, blogs, movies, magazines?