Saturday, July 14, 2018

A Common Cause of Unhappiness:Comparisons

They say happiness is a state of mind.It follows that the various constituents of our mind are what make us happy.And if we are sad,then too it must be because of the workings of an element of our mind only.In order to be happy we need to weed out that element,tendency or habit which  cooks up despondence for us.

One such culprit is the human tendency to rate oneself in comparison to others.I hasten to add that comparisons can be useful too.When we recognize we are far more talented than many others,our self esteem climbs up many notches.Even negative comparisons can inspire us to jack up our performance or cultivate in our own selves a quality which we admire in others.

But this happens only if we remain level-headed and do not bemoan our inadequacy or mediocrity every time we come across someone who is more accomplished than us in any way. When unfavorable comparisons become a habit,they also become a major source of unhappiness because they  spawn discontent and wither our self esteem.This  throws a damper on our confidence and zeal.Even a hitherto happy person begins to feel restless and dissatisfied after such comparisons.Anxiety arrives,followed by jealousy and rancor.Peace of mind goes out of the window.

You can read this post to raise your self esteem.

All of us are different in each and every way.No clones around.When our genes,upbringing,education,backgrounds and responsibilities are all different,then what is the use of rating ourselves in comparison to others?We are born with certain innate talents and aptitudes which,if nurtured,will take us far.But negative comparisons can deflect our attention from the goals which best suit our abilities. They may even goad us to take an inappropriate route in pursuit of that charisma which we espied in someone else.

By all means keep a benchmark in front of you to guide your journey.Evolve and learn new skills,but imitating anyone is not the best way to do it.Even if you do come abreast with the person who unknowingly kindled your race;given your tendency to compete,you will soon espy another person who is superior to you and in this way the race will never end.You will remain dissatisfied all your life.

For more on the merits and demerits of competition you can read  this post.

It is no doubt very disconcerting to realize that you are less than someone else; but instead of getting upset,seize that moment to discover the potentials which you have and make the best use of those God-given gifts.Compete only with yourself.Better yourself every day and one day people will look admiringly at you and strive to equal you.

I am reminded of Anand (name changed) who was depressed because he was was doubtful of gaining admission in a prestigious institute.When I asked him if he had a plan B in mind he said his uncle and his son had graduated from that very institute and if they could,why not him?He was determined to end his life if he failed.See the extent to which a comparison can disrupt our thinking? It led this boy to the brink of suicide.

These days it is more difficult than ever to keep away from negative comparisons.The high achievers and the glitterati are all over the media,as are the glossy updates of friends and family.To safeguard your cool,remember that the ground reality may be quite different from what you see on the social network sites. If you pay more than cursory attention to them,you are bound to be frustrated.Instead of being grateful for what you have,you will be depressed because of what you do not have but others do.Give up such comparisons and you will be happy as you are and where you are. 

Image courtesy google search.


  1. Very true.
    We are 'unique just like everyone else'! The sooner we understand this and stop comparing, the better!

  2. I agree to this thought ... it’s up to you how you want your life to run ... great writing ...

  3. Very everybody sees only up, whereas we were told to look down..each person has a unique personality and destiny.charm lies in finding that..nobody can have everything in one life.

    1. Yes,it all depends on how much faith we have in our own personality

  4. I always told my wife we should not compare someone with anyone. But if we compare a person with someone else, we should take the whole package and not just a few select items that we like in that person.

    1. Thanks for putting it in a nutshell SG.
      Have a nice day.


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