Comparison and Gratitude
How many times have you been perusing social media, window shopping or just observing the lives of others and suddenly felt as if your life was lacking or inadequate? We as human beings in the 21st century are constantly bombarded with opportunities to arrive at the old adage "the grass is always greener...". We let comparison steal away not only our satisfaction with our lives, but, equally dangerous, our sense of gratitude. When we move to a place of feeling "not enough" we automatically move away from that place where we are grateful.
In my own life at times I find myself bizarrely discouraged that I don't have as many "followers" or "likes" as other people on social media. Or even worse feeling jealous of the successes of my friends. Not behavior I am proud of, and certainly not mindful. These feelings bring me to an odd place of dis-satisfaction that has been very stressful. Fortunately, shortly after this began to occur, I recognized that something was very wrong with this picture and began working to alleviate it. My solution, whenever this reaction occurs, is to force myself to come back to a place of gratitude. To silence the rumblings of my mind, I recount one or several of the amazing things and people in my life for which I am grateful. It is a daily process that requires me to practice mindfulness whenever the temptation creeps in to compare my life, my work, my possessions etc. I cannot say I have or ever will fully "arrive" at a place where comparison no longer has this effect on me, but, I can assure you, this method is improving how I react to the feelings evoked by comparison.
As we approach Thanksgiving, the day where our focus is supposed to be on those things we are thankful for, it is my most sincere desire to thank all of you who are readers of Pursuing a Mindful Life. I am very grateful to all of you for allowing me to share my thoughts with you and for the amazing feedback and kind support you offer me. It is my hope that you will, throughout this season that can be so fraught with dis-satisfaction, find space and time to focus with gratitude on those things that are truly meaningful in your life.