Comparisons can be made in a positive and fruitful way, as long as the green ogre called jealousy doesn’t come into the picture, says Megha Bajaj
Emotions are nothing but feelings in motion. To further simplify, emotions are nothing but thoughts added to feelings.
Positive emotions energise us. Love. Faith. Peace. Bliss. Enthusiasm. Purpose.
Negative emotions drain us. Resentment. Guilt. Hurt. Hatred. And the one I wish to discuss today, which really drains us, is that of comparison, which further leads to jealousy.
Each one of us has the tendency to compare ourselves and our lives to those of others. Comparison by itself is not a bad thing. In fact, it is what motivates us to do more or get things right. For example, comparing myself with someone who is really fit empowers me to embrace health. Reading inspiring rags-to-riches stories and comparing my life with the legends therein helps me to believe that I too can become something phenomenal. Comparison is an unavoidable truth of life. However, like everything else in life, it is a two-edged sword. Use it to feel inspired, and comparison becomes the best tool for you. Use it to feel low about yourself, and it drains you of all your potent energy.
I have been writing the biographies of some inspiring people and, somehow, my days are filled with being with them. I find it very fulfilling to watch them come alive through their lives. In turn, I reciprocate by lending them a ear, patiently and lovingly, which does not interfere with their flow. Rather, I become them and go along on a journey.
I realised something incredible with all the people I have been meeting: they only compare themselves with others to inspire themselves; they never put others down. For example, I asked many of them, “How do you view competition?” and they all unanimously shared, “Oh, we love competition! We get to learn so much from competition!” A builder who is doing phenomenally well even went on to tell me that he is part of a group which includes eleven of his competitors and they meet every week to have healthy discussions on deals and decisions.
I realised, for a growing individual with healthy self-esteem, competition is not a threat. In fact, they see competitors as people who help them become better versions of themselves.
This led me to understand a few reasons as to when comparison leads us towards a downward spiral. Clearly, the first and foremost one is when we are not secure about who we are. When we have dents in our self-esteem, it causes us to get very insecure about anyone doing things better than us. When we feel great about who we are, we can simply observe and realise, “Oh, there is a better way. Let me also adopt it.”
The second thing I realised is the emotions we attach to the person we are comparing ourselves with. For example, if a son who is in awe of his father is wondering how he can be like him, it will only lead to happy feelings of inspiration. However, if it is a sister who is looking at her sibling with resentment and asking “How come she gets everything and I don’t?” it is going to lead to jealousy.
How we feel about ourselves and others, then, seems to be the key here.
Comparison is going to be a part of our lives for as long as we live in a social world. However, how we use it depends completely on us. Let’s get inspired, not jealous. Let’s get excited, not insecure. Abundance awaits each one of us. Let’s go tap into it!
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