What is the positive sense of Comparison

Looking at Instagram

I’m not an Instagram user, but family members are, and I see the kinds of things that are posted: people going to parties, to the beach, having a great dinner, traveling, going on a run, doing yoga … generally living an amazing life.

If you were to look at these on a regular basis, it would be easy to compare your boring life (looking at your phone) to the incredible lives of your friends. Why aren’t you doing more? Why aren’t you eating more beautiful food? Why aren’t you traveling or exercising or doing anything other than what you’re doing right now? Why don’t you have a better body?

It’s not a fair comparison, of course. They’re not posting photos of themselves when they’re doing the more mundane things, including sitting around looking at their phones. They’re not posting about their anxieties or boredom, their arguments and procrastination, their insecurities.

But even if you do an apples-to-apples comparison — your highlights to theirs — what use is that? Do the highlights of our lives need to be better than anyone else’s? Why?

Do the highlights determine our happiness? Do they show us what life is about?

No: happiness comes from appreciating what’s in front of you, not wishing you were doing something else. You find out what life is about by paying closer attention to it, not wishing you were living a fantasy.

We don’t need to be better than anyone else: we just need to love where we are and what we’re doing and who we are. That’s what matters.

The comparisons don’t make us happier or appreciate life more — they make us feel horrible about ourselves. And that’s heartbreaking.And consuming a lot of our energy.

 Judging Someone Else

Let’s say I have worked hard to change my habits, quitting smoking and then taking up regular exercise and eating a lot healthier. I’ve worked hard to make myself into a healthy person, and I’m proud of it.

Then I see someone else who is overweight, who eats junk all the time and smokes and can’t seem to stick to an exercise plan.

One common reaction is to look at this overweight person and judge them: why don’t they stop eating all that junk? Go for a daily walk, eat some vegetables? They have no self-control! They are to blame for their problems.

So we judge them, and in comparison we feel superior for not having those bad habits. But this doesn’t make us happy: judging someone else only makes us dislike them. That’s not happiness — that’s shaking our heads in disgust.

We wish they were more like us, and might even feel some frustration that they don’t take action to do something good for themselves.

This doesn’t make us appreciate life more — it makes us wish it were different, and frustrated that it isn’t. Instead, we might consider trying to understand the person.
Have we ever struggled with habits? Have we ever felt bad about ourselves? Of course we have.

We know what it feels like to go through difficulty, to feel hopeless, to not think we can change. We don’t know what it feels like to be this person, but maybe we can imagine that they’re suffering, and we can wish for their suffering to end.

The Two Habits

In both cases, the comparisons led to feeling really bad about ourselves or others. This is heartbreaking, because we are good people, and so are they. It’s only in comparison that we take what’s wonderful and turn it into something cruel.

I propose two habits to replace comparison:

  1. Appreciate where you are.
    Instead of looking at the lives of others, see the goodness in front of you. Inside of you. Appreciate each moment, one at a time, and be happy where you are. When you find yourself comparing your life to the lives of others, turn to the moment in front of you and find ways to appreciate it.
  2. Seek to understand, not judge.
    When you find yourself frustrated with others, or judging them … instead, try to understand them. Are they going through a hard time? Are they frustrated? Sad? Angry? Feeling hopeless? Do you know what that’s like? When we understand a person, we let go of judgment.

With these two strategies, our heart comes to the right place. And we let go of the cruelty of comparisons, as unthinkably unnecessary.

With thanks to Leo Babuta.

How to Work With Your Energy Ebbs and Flows

 Understanding Your Energy Flow

A lot of us pay too much attention to time management. We act under the assumption that if we have time to do something, then we can do it.
In reality though, our ability to complete work is much more related to our energy. If you don’t have the energy necessary to focus or to work, then you won’t be able to do it or your work won’t be as good.
And as it happens, our energy levels come on in waves and are largely out of our control.

For example, first thing in the morning many of us struggle with something called ‘sleep inertia’. This means our brains are still groggy from the night’s sleep and we aren’t as productive.
Likewise, we tend to be less efficient right after lunch or dinner. That’s because an influx of carbohydrates gets broken down to tryptophan and that tryptophan is then converted into serotonin. In turn, the serotonin is converted to melatonin, making us sleepy!

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5 Ways To Improve Mobility With Arthritis

For many people, especially the elderly, arthritis is a debilitating illness. Arthritis causes increased inflammation around the joint that can lead to immobility and pain.

While there are conventional medical treatments that are available for people with arthritis, many wonder what can be done along with medication to help improve mobility with their arthritis. In fact, there are many natural methods to help manage pain and improve mobility.

This article will show you five different alternative therapies and treatments that can help you manage your daily arthritis symptoms and mobility issues.

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