The child comes into the world to discover it. At first, he is concerned with the physical environment that surrounds him. Shiny objects, smooth surfaces, and bright colors occupy his thoughts. He touches, he sees, he feels, he laughs and he cries. The senses are alive for the very first time, and there is much to experience.
Eventually, he notices the people who surround him. Mom and Dad are there, and he learns from them. They teach him how to deal with stress, fix problems, manage impulses, interact with society, build friendships, help others, handle conflicts, feed themselves, clothe themselves, learn new skills, and love. Parents have a personality and a worldview of their own, and it is transferred to the child – just like DNA.
The two world-views collide and are filtered through the new consciousness, all mixed and tangled up with experiences, adversities, and desires that are unique to the child. He is then initiated into his first community: the family. There are grandparents, cousins, and siblings, and he must interact with them on a regular basis. Soon after come the classmates and the teachers – the social circle expands, and the first existential questions begin to surface:
Who am I? What makes me similar to these people? What makes me different? Who do they want me to be? Who do I want to be? What are those differences, and how do I feel about them? What do I have that they don’t? What do they have that I don’t? Is my life better, or worse? Are they better? Am I better?
The ego begins to build a story of the self in relationship to others. It identifies people it wants to be like, and reasons to feel unique in both positive and negative ways. It chooses talents to develop, hobbies to enjoy, and interests to pursue. IT develops a taste that IT believes represents the identity IT is creating. Shortly afterwards, the child begins to suffer.
Suffering is what we feel when we make ourselves believe that a deeply-held desire is unattainable. When we identify someone who has access to one of our desires, we think that they have completely eliminated their suffering. Because we think that our desire is all we need in order to be “fulfilled”, we assume that they are now “fulfilled”, which must mean that we’re inferior.
Do others have access to certain blessings you have been denied? Did someone else have your dreams come true for them? Is thy neighbor’s happiness causing you pain?
It’s interesting when we fully stop and think about what others are going through without analyzing their lives through the filter of our own experience. When we take our own story out of the equation, we realize that perfection doesn’t exist. We’re all juggling “good” and “bad” in our lives. We’re all in search for more. We all have plenty of reasons to smile and to frown.
We might understand this permanent truth at one time or another, but we’re all doomed to forget it. Eventually, when the circumstances provide an excessive amount of suffering (or we conspire to believe that the circumstances are providing an excessive amount of suffering), we look to other’s lives for a reason to feel inferior. We read their circumstances the way we want to read them, and tell ourselves that they’re happy and we’re not.
Jealousy is a natural human emotion. While we will never be able to eliminate it, we can learn to see it for the delusion that it is.
There is nothing wrong with admitting that someone is making you feel inferior because they have been given something that you want. After a few seconds of feeling less, you can take a look at the situation without the feeling. Think about the cold hard facts:
What really happened?
Someone got something you want.
That’s it. That’s all. It doesn’t have anything to do with their worth vs. yours. It doesn’t mean you’re not entitled to it. It doesn’t mean you don’t deserve it. It doesn’t mean you’ll never get it. It just means that they got it.
For all you know, that thing could be just around the corner for you too. LITERALLY, just around the corner.
You should also remember that there are many out there who covet the things you have.
Soon you will awaken to a higher perspective:
It’s all in your head.
The comparison of other’s lives versus yours is in your head. Your assessment of that person’s life and what their circumstances feel like is in your head. Your reasoning of what that comparison represents and what it says about you is in your head. The assumption that you cannot be happy unless you get what they have is also in your head.
It’s all in your head.
The universe does not judge you. All judgements are internal – a means to compare and contrast as we judge ourselves against idealistic assessments of the lives of others. The more we think about what others have and who others are, the more we ignore ourselves, the things that need fixing, and the ways in which we can become better people.
You’re not competing against anyone except yourself. It’s not about how much better than others you are, it’s about how much better you are now than you used to be. It’s not about what others have that you don’t, it is about what you can go out there and get for yourself.
If you take a snapshot of today, compare it with a year ago and see progress, pat yourself on the back first, and then take the steps to improve twice more before next year. If there is no progress, don’t let another year pass you by without making improvements.
You’re beginning to realize that life can always be enjoyed (even when it’s dark), while understanding that there are always things you can do to improve your future. You’re walking upward, but no one step is unbearable. They’re all necessary, perfect in their own special way, and you’ll be sure to look back on them with a smile on your face.
Andrew Gabelic is the CEO & Founder of Teledipity, a free pocket life coach with an eerie ability to send you the right self-improvement content at the right time (based on your personality and life stage). Check out what it says about you!