One of the determinants I see most often as people start to get happy on purpose is that the almost obsessive need to compare starts to magically drop away.
Comparisonitis chokes happiness off at the source, and it’s more prevalent than ever. Social media, in particular, has driven this trend. The endless parade of mates and acquaintances on a perfect tropical beach or renovated-to-within-an-inch-of-its-life bach, with their perfect kids doing something witty or high achieving. Thank God the tedious trend of people sharing their dinner seems to have mercifully dropped away, replaced however by more carefully filtered selfies than you can shake a stick at.
There are two ways to view this stream of stuff. Either as a ticker tape of fabulous that rolls past you, infusing a glow of good people having good times. Or, as is more common, the opportunity to play the Comparisonitis Game and find ourselves, or our lives, lacking in some way. “She’s climbed Kilimanjaro before breakfast, and all I’ve done is hang the washing out…”, we internally wail.
Why do we feel the need to compare? Because just sometimes we get a “hit”- we come out on top! Our life is better in some way. We win! Score! It feels good. We keep on playing. The thing is, if we choose to play this particular game, inevitably we lose much more often than we win. With social media pretty much all you get is someone else’s show reel, not their everyday life. And that stacks the deck. That means it’s a rigged game and the casino is always going to come out on top.
Let’s face it – the edited highlights are actually MUCH BETTER!
We like the good stuff. Imagine if we were comparing our realities against other people’s realities:
“I’ve just separated the coloured from the whites and popped another load on!”
“I’ve just cleaned up cat sick for the second time this week! Just sayin’!”
“Check out me hoovering out the back of the car! Like a BOSS!”
“My kid has just gone into their room in a strop slamming the door again! #blessed
Now that would be a Comparisonitis Game where we actually stood a chance!
If you want to be happier, stop playing the game. Bless the goodness that rolls by but don’t compare it to your own. Stay in your own lane – that’s where all the good stuff that matters is happening. You have so many better games to be playing, darling.