CAUSE OF UNHAPPINESS PART TWO: COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS

Human’s innate ability to compare ourselves to others is perhaps the root of all sins in this world. Knowing that I am better create a sense of pride or even arrogant, while knowing that I am less create a sense of envy and jealousy toward the other. There can be no ends to our comparison unless we stop to put any value into it.

The fuels behind our comparisons are our likes and dislikes.

Let’s say for example that we would like to be promoted. However, someone was promoted instead. We can’t help but feel disappointed or even a sense of hate or jealousy. Why? Because we believe a promotion has value and is desirable. But if we did not want to be promoted in the first place then we simply would not care who got promoted or didn’t.

I used to be someone who enjoyed being better than others. My identity was dependent upon others being less than who I am. Every conservation I start every word I speak leak a sense of pride and the desperate need to show off myself. When I met someone who is worse of than I am then I became overjoyed because I felt I was “better”. But when I met someone who was better suddenly I felt scared and inferior.

My happiness was contextual. I thought my happiness was to look better than others, but what I couldn’t see is how tiresome it was for me as well as those around me to put up with my own inferiority complex.

Happiness is not to be taken likely. If one does not take care of it and see it objectively. It is most likely that this kind of pursue of “happiness” will never stop. And for me or for anyone, they would forever carry around this “happiness” complex without noticing it.

Mindfulness saves my life.

I was lucky. I somehow found my way to the practice of mindfulness. Through the practice mindfulness, I began to reflect upon this inferiority complex I called “happiness”. And the more I reflect the more I see its negative effects.

First, it is rather obnoxious for others who have to put up with my own insecurity. No one likes someone who fill up the conversation only to boast about himself.

Second, it was tiresome to try to talk about how great you are in every context. I simply can’t be happy by myself. I needed someone to be better than at all time else I couldn’t be happy. When I felt like I am better than a person, I became happy. When that person or someone else become better than me then I became unsatisfied. My happiness was fleeting. It’s the kind of happiness which is dependent upon whether or not the context allow me to feel as if I am “better” than others.

What I eventually realise is that it was too hard for me to find happiness. My happiness to look better didn’t do anyone, including myself, any good except fulfilling the unfulfillable desire to look “better”.

Comparing myself to others did not bring me any joy, only pain and bitterness. Thus, I quit.

How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

  • Reflect. As long as you are biased toward yourself and your ways of attaining happiness, you will never find True Happiness. You will say, “This is my happiness. Why would I change?” Thus, it is necessary to have the desire to improve one’s happiness by reflecting often. Question yourself. Why I am still unhappy even though I am trying to be happy? And if possible, learn to be mindful of your actions to see whether they are driven by your unwholesome desire or the desire to prove yourself. Know thyself and change yourself before it’s too late!
  • Knowing that there is no ends to comparing yourself to others. You will never be satisfied because your satisfaction is relative to how others are.
  • Better could mean worse and less is sometimes more. It all depends on which standard or perspective are you putting yourself against. No one is better or worse. Everyone has different background and up-bring and naturally each is incomparably different from one another.
  • Seeing the negative effects it has on oneself and everyone around you.
  • Compare yourself today with yourself yesterday
  • Learn the art of mindfulness! Click here to learn!

CAUSE OF UNHAPPINESS PART ONE: EXTERNALIZING OUR HAPPINESS

Happiness is like a string which ties us to that which we believe is our happiness.

We, humans, have many things which our happiness is dependent upon whether it would be our wealth, health, or our love ones. Let’s say for example that if you tie your happiness with being rich and accepted, then as long as you are not rich and accepted you can not be happy. Similarly, if you rest your happiness on your promotion then the promotion becomes the happiness which you have put outside of yourself.

Nowadays, the society only encourages us to put our happiness outside of ourselves. The media is telling us that for one to be happy one needs to have a new iPhone, a big house, a good job, and a beautiful spouse, a degree from Harvard and on and on. Imagine ourselves being tied to millions of these strings which we come to know as “happiness”. What we soon realise is that “happiness” starts to become a spider webs in which we are the preys. Each “happiness” is pulling us left and right to the point that it becomes impossible to obtain any happiness or freedom in life.

So What Do We Do?

How do we keep our happiness with us? Here are some interesting concepts to contemplate and chew on which will help you find True Happiness in this chaotic world.

1. Don’t Let Anything Defines Your Self-Worth.

The worst thing you can do for yourself is to let money defines your self-worth. And the worst thing you can do to others is to define others’ self-worth through money.

Nothing can define your self-worth unless you let it. However, one way we, humans, externalize our happiness is to let something else defines our self-worth. This is very common in our materialistic society where often times we let material–like cars, money, cloth, or house–tells us our self-worth. If we let material defines our self-worth then material becomes our happiness. The more material or wealth we have the happier we becomes and inversely the less material or wealth we have the more unhappy we become. So by letting money defines ourselves our happiness becomes dependent to money.

The happiest man on earth does not rest his “happiness” on anything. And for that reason, he cannot not be happy. He does not need to be “rich” to be happy. He does not need to be “smart” to be happy. He does not need other’s compliment or affection to be happy. He is already happiness as is. There is no happiness which he has externalized.

Plus, material or outer wealth has nothing to do with ourselves self-worth from the very start. When we were young materialism does not affect our world much. We wear whatever we want. We be whoever we want to be without feeling superior or inferior to anyone.

Whatever we come to value we also judge.

When we let money defines our self-worth, we, in the same way, judge others through money. When how much money one has can define a person, there is naturally someone who is worse, or the same as the others. When such valuation of our humanity is as such. This valuation becomes the root of discrimination, prejudice, jealousy, pride and arrogant. Hence, one should be very careful about what one values and how far one takes it.

2. Good Or Bad Is A Matter Of Human’s Perspective

Good or bad, rich or poor, beautiful or ugly, these dualities are man-made. In God’s eyes there is no such thing as good or bad. For Him, everything is just is.

Whether or not we have externalized our happiness, the value we perceive about ourselves–whether we believe we are rich or poor, beautiful or ugly, successful or unsuccessful, young or old, worthy or worthless–is only a matter of how and what we compare ourselves to. If you compare yourself to someone who are less fortunate than you might be “rich.” But if you compare yourself to a billionaire then we are, in a way, “poor”. So we are both “rich” and “poor” and at the same time we are neither. Positivity or negativity is a matter of perspective. In the realm of the ultimate reality, there is no one who is better or worse. We are just who we are–incomparably different from one another.

3. Question Your Happiness

A happy life must always be simple no matter how complicate our lives have become.

Most people rarely question their own happiness. But in order to maintain a happy life, it is necessary to regularly check up on what we called “happiness.”

As a practice, I suggest you to regularly review your life. I personally have a habit of writing a journal every night before going to bed to see what is bothering my mind. List them all out, question this list of what you called “happiness” then sort only ones that matter most to you while eliminating others which are not. You will easily find many things which you desire yet they are unnecessary towards life and are, in some ways, even weighting you down from achieving what really matters. Is it all that important to be “successful” in eyes of the others? Is being rich the answer to life? Is it worth it to trade your inner happiness for an outer one? Is my family comes first before my work? Slowly find out what matters to you most. Cut out any unnecessary wants. Eventually your life will feel lighter as you let go of those extraneous ties of “happiness.”

Knowing where your happiness truly belongs is a skill one which can be improved by learning to quickly identify where you have misplaced your happiness. This is what mindfulness is for. (Click here to learn more about the practice of True Happiness.) And once you can see that these ties of “happiness” have been causing you more pain than happiness then perhaps it is time to let go. As a rule of thumb, the less ties of “happiness” we have the easier for us to find happiness in life.

What To Take Away

Happiness is a delicate science. It is intriguing how sometimes even the things in which we believe will bring us “happiness” can end up causing us more unhappiness than happiness. Who would have thought that the way to be happy is less about pursuing it than questioning it? Happiness should never be ahead of us. It should be with us even though we are pursuing something ahead of us. Happiness is like a fire. And it is advisable that one be very careful with what you believe to be “happiness”. Question it. Simplify it. Deconstruction it. And what you will find is that there is nothing you need more to make you happy since our heart is by nature already happy.

[Read the original post @ true-happiness.github.io]