Comparison is the thief of joy – Teddy Roosevelt
Little eats at humans like comparison. When someone I consider a rival does better than me, I feel cranky. If I take a moment to trace my tiny little feelings, I probably realize that my irritation is really sadness in disguise. I’m bummed that someone I consider my equal is doing better and I secretly wish they would do worse. Or just go away. That way I’d feel better by comparison.
On the flip side, when someone I consider a peer has a mishap, I get nervous. If it can happen to them, it could happen to me. It’s a version of fear.
Who knew I had so many feelings?
One of the opportunities in this crisis is to throw out the happiness crutch of comparison. Sure, I feel better for a few minutes when I compare favorably to another person. But the sadness of losing or the fear of what might happen is just around the corner.
It’s much better to choose gratitude. This is simple, yet powerful. It’s a matter of not taking anything for granted. If I wake up, that’s a gift. When I have food for breakfast, it’s a gift. When I’m walking down the street and get to enjoy a flower or a bird or a neighbor, it’s a huge bonus. I didn’t earn any of it.
Gratitude is a simple, low-cost way to joy. You only have to count.