In this episode we talk about comparison and the ways in which we use it to inflict suffering on ourselves.
I open up the podcast by talking about how humans use relation and comparison as a way to understand and define the world. This is at the core of our being and can’t be removed.
I speak about how comparison aided us in the past, but in our present day it mostly only hurts us. Society was different thousands of years ago. Capitalism turns our world into a competition of sorts and we gauge our self-worth and success by comparing ourselves to others.
I add that when we conduct these comparisons we almost always compare up. We look only at those doing better, those with more. This only serves to bring out the worst in us: jealousy, resentment, anger, envy, scorn.
And social media is like throwing gas on the fire. Never before have the inequities of life been on such prominent display. People can become Instafamous and successful simply by being born with perfect features, or born rich, or whatever it is. It makes sense that we would feel cheated when we see these people living an amazing life that seems undeserved and unearned.
But the truth of it is that we only see what’s on the surface. We rarely know the full story. We compare ourselves not against these other people, but against our perceptions of these other people. We build the truth around them inside of our own minds.
All of this leads to us feeling depressed. Because we’re comparing ourselves to forces outside our realm of control and if you’re a regular listener then you know where that leads.
We then talk about the universal truth that comparison inevitably reveals; the one we all must reconcile during our lives. Life is not fair, it never has been and it never will be. Period. You can let that fact paralyze you into inaction or you can accept and embrace it and move on and thrive.
Then we talk about the 2 comparisons that I find most appropriate. The first is to compare yourself against the billions of people that have it worse than you so that you can understand the truth about your life, which is that you live a life that 99% of the world will never experience. This comparison creates gratitude and gratitude is the antidote to those nasty emotions we spoke of earlier.
The second comparison is to compare yourself against yourself of the past, against who you were yesterday. On a journey of growth this is how you chart your progress and make adjustments. Every day we try to be 1% better than we were yesterday.
This week’s CTA is to break ourselves out of this cycle of constant comparison. The key is to realize that you’re comparing yourself against your own perception of how others are doing and likely projecting your own insecurities in the mix as well. It’s all a fabrication inside of your own mind, which ultimately you control. So switch it off. Realize that it’s all in your head. And if you must compare, do it one of the 2 ways I spoke of earlier.
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