OK, so maybe I made up that 89% statistic, but I think it illustrates an important point: You are great just BEING YOU. Too often, believing anything less comes from comparing yourself to others, whether it’s about money, possessions, looks, or anything else.
So if you’re guilty of constantly comparing yourself to others – it’s time to stop!
Let’s say you were stranded on a deserted island with only your family. Would you be thinking about Bob’s new Mercedes, Nancy’s perfect abs, or John’s shiny new iPhone? No. In that situation, all the typical expectations we have for ourselves would be stripped away, and what would matter is food, family and making the most of things. Removing all that social pressure would likely lead to a sense of contentment that is unfamiliar to most of us.
In fact, actual statistics show that some of the happiest people live in the poorest countries. “Scientists explain this by historically formed mentality of these people who see happiness in things other than material goods. … people in poor countries can find joy in the moral satisfaction that often is not available to citizens of the developed countries.” Focused on family and friends, and viewing life itself as a blessing, many people in the world wonder why anyone would get so wrapped up in numbers on a screen or shiny objects.
The Trap of Desire
Buddhists have a belief that most of the world’s suffering comes from desire. While most of us here in the U.S. aren’t Buddhist monks, we can learn a thing or two from them.
It can be so easy to get swept up in desiring what we can’t or don’t have when we look at our successful neighbors, read glossy magazines, and watch the stars in movies and TV. Of course we don’t live in a vacuum, so these things are nearly impossible to block out completely. But we can step up our efforts to avoid comparing ourselves to others, which is a kind of negative self-talk.
The fact that everyone comes with their own different strengths and weaknesses, their own experiences and struggles, is something that gets lost on too many of us. We often spend so much time focusing on how we measure up to others, and worrying about material things, that we don’t see or appreciate who we really are.
Learning to accept and love yourself doesn’t mean that you should never seek self-improvement or change – it means that you should only seek those things if YOU really want them. You should do it in a way that is authentic to your own circumstances and to your Self.
I think this quote from 22-year-old Daniell Koepke, creator of the Internal Acceptance Movement online community, sums things up nicely:
“Stop comparing where you’re at with where everyone else is. It doesn’t move you farther ahead, improve your situation, or help you find peace. It just feeds your shame, fuels your feelings of inadequacy, and ultimately, it keeps you stuck. The reality is that there is no one correct path in life. Everyone has their own unique journey.”
This blog post was collaboratively written by Tranquility Labs Founder, Rob Barry, and Blogger/Editor, Marie Glenmore.