People often say that we should not compare ourselves to other people. They say that everyone has a different starting point so why bother comparing. Well, that’s true but I don’t think that is realistic to do.
In the world where mankind is getting more and more connected, it’s extremely unlikely to not comparing ourselves with others. Let’s just embrace the fact that we tend to do that :)
A lot of people tell me that comparing ourselves with others will make us unhappy. There is also some truth to it. Most of this comparison happens on Instagram.
In Instagram, all we see is perfection. Beautiful bodies, amazing landscapes, and laughing people flood our feed and stories. Being bombarded by this content makes us wonder,” Hey, why do these people have the perfect life I don’t have?” The constant exposure to this makes us believe that we are the most miserable person on earth.
I’m not blaming Instagram, because it is just an app. The negative effect of it happens because we let it take control of our mind. Therefore, I would like to offer you another perspective.
Our misery is actually not based our understanding about the actual reality.
In reality, there is also a significant amount of people who are less fortunate than we are.
Comparing ourselves with them gives us an essential piece of information on whether we should feel miserable
A few weeks ago, I went back to my hometown. When I was walking in my neighborhood, I saw a familiar face. He was my favorite fried food seller when I was an elementary student. We had a quick chat about life. I was so impressed by the fact that he could fund his son to obtain a bachelor degree. That interaction made me so grateful. My father was not the richest man but he could afford my tuition without having to work in a physically demanding job.
On another occasion, I had a conversation with a green bean porridge seller near the office. He greeted me with big smiles on his face. I asked him how long he has been working on his job. “25 years,” he replied. When I asked how can he work for the same job for so long, he explained that it was his only option to survive in Jakarta. That moment struck me because I realized how privileged I was. I’m definitely not the richest person but I don’t have to stay in one job for 25 years.
Living in the capital city gives us tremendous opportunities to interact with inspiring people like them. This city is full of people who leave their comfort zone in the Rular area to earn a more decent life. Spending 5 minutes to talk to your ride-hailing driver is also another way to feel that goosebump.
It reminds us that life struggle is extremely common.
It’s not only us who face that but also other people.
It’s just the form that varies from person to person.
To be very clear, I’m not saying that we should bottle up our emotion. In fact, expressing negative emotion like anger, disappointment, jealousy is a part of being human. However, we should actively find the right balance between expressing negative emotion and gratitude.
You might wonder how to do it correctly. Unfortunately, I don’t have a definite answer to that. I asked my mentor the same question and he also did not have a good answer for it. Therefore, I came to the conclusion that
The act of balancing it requires an infinite amount of iteration that will take a lifetime
That’s why as human, our learning does not stop when we graduate from college. It continues because life keeps giving us challenges. It sometimes makes us uncomfortable but that what makes a life worth living.