In today’s age of social media, the overwhelming information about people’s lifestyle choices, their spending habits, their material world, etc. are becoming increasingly accessible by the common man. Even those who live more of an offline life, find ways to keep themselves updated about how people around them are living.
One common side-effect of this information, unfortunately, is comparison. This is unfortunate because comparison almost always kills joy.
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Sense of jealousy
Suppose our neighbors buy a new refrigerator. Until we hear the news, we are quite content with our own refrigerator. But when we see the new appliance and learn about its features, the comparison begins.
An idea starts running into our minds that I too want to buy this fridge. Our intellect further supports this idea by supplying a good number of valid reasons to do so: the current refrigerator is already five years old and hence it is due for replacement, or else we may end up paying high repair and maintenance costs. While the present fridge serves the purpose, it does not have the latest technology. The new fridge has so many useful features, and so on.
In short, we are jealous of the fact that our neighbors are having a better fridge than us. Hence, ‘whatever the neighbors have, I too should have’ is the general feeling that has unconsciously wormed its way into our being.
Then for many days, we struggle with the burning desire of buying a new refrigerator for ourselves. We make a list of pros and cons, go through our finances again and again, and check if we can afford something like this. We try to figure out where else can we cut our costs so that we can somehow make some room for another expense (which is really not called for). We get into undue and irrational arguments with our family too, trying to plead our case and prove our point until we manage to get things approved our way.
Finally, we buy a new refrigerator, although it exerted a considerable strain on our pockets and called for a lot of adjustments in our home to accommodate the new fridge and in our social life to get the approval for it. Anyway, all is well that ends well! But does it end there? No, it can’t. Now, one of our friends has bought a new washing machine!
What happens then? The happiness of the refrigerator evaporates in an instant in thin air, as we are now comparing ourselves with our friend who has the latest washing machine, as compared to us. This is how comparison inevitably kills the joy!
Comparison and wanting what someone else has leads to nothing but unhappiness. What if we would have simply accepted the fact that our neighbors have bought something which is good for them, and hence celebrated along with them? We could have recalled and shared with them the joy that we had experienced when we bought our refrigerator. We could even give them some good tips, being an old user of a refrigerator (this is just an example, it could be anything in place of a refrigerator) and could learn a few new things from them for being the owners of the latest model of a fridge having new features.
We could also remind ourselves that in the future whenever we will need to buy a new fridge, it would be just as wonderful and thrilling experience as it is for our neighbors today. And above all, we could pray for our neighbors that they have a hassle-free time with this fridge, and may they prosper so well they can buy many more of such things that are a necessity to lead a good life today!
See, there is so much we can do that adds to our joy as well as that of others! Then why unnecessarily get dragged into the quagmire of comparison and kill our joy as well as that of people around us?