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Stop Comparing If You Wish To Be Happy!

Swami Mukundananda

It is said that comparison is the thief of joy. Yet, we find it impossible to avoid. We all weigh ourselves against others. Be it bank balance, size of home, number of likes on social media, or tally of cars in the driveway – these are common parameters of comparison. However, measuring success based on these external factors often invites anxiety and depression.

Consider the following study. Monkeys were placed in a cage and given a pebble to hand over to a scientist. The first was given a cucumber as a reward. It seemed happy and content until he noticed the monkey next to it receiving a grape. Out of rage, he threw the cucumber at the scientist and shuddered the cage!

We too manifest similar emotions when someone is ahead of us in the form of anger, envy and greed. Partaking in the “rat” race robs us of contentment. However, we fail to realize no matter what we do, someone will always be ahead with a better job, nicer car, good children and so forth. Likewise, there will be others who lack what we possess.

How can we overcome this tendency to compare with others? Simply appreciate what you have versus what you lack. Very often we forget the innumerable graces that we have received and focus on the problems. God has blessed us all with unique talents and strengths. If we hone in on those and grow our aptitude, our attention will shift from others to ourselves.  

Additionally, realize in the final analysis of life, our inner goodness and growth are what will count in God’s court, not our list of achievements or titles. Hence, our self-interest lies in continuous improvement and inner growth which will be a consequence of competition with oneself, not others.

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