In today's world, it's all too easy to fall into the trap of comparing ourselves to others and feeling inadequate as a result. Whether it's a friend's promotion, new car, relationship, or home, we often find ourselves judging and minimizing their success, or focusing on our own perceived shortcomings. But this comparison game only leads to negative emotions and prevents us from finding contentment in our own lives. In this blog, we'll explore two paths of the comparison trap and introduce two alternative paths that can help us cultivate contentment: celebration and gratitude.
The Two Painful Paths:
The comparison trap involves two painful paths. The first path is judging the other person. We tend to downplay their achievements by focusing on potential downsides or minimizing their success. The second path is judging ourselves. Instead of acknowledging our strengths and accomplishments, we dwell on the negatives and feel unappreciated or underpaid.
The Negative Effects:
Comparing ourselves to others is a common mind game that never leads to a win. It breeds cynicism, jealousy, bitterness, and self-condemnation, which prevent us from seeing opportunities and possibilities in our own lives. These negative emotions can also harm our relationships and impact our performance at work.
Two Paths Toward Contentment:
To overcome the comparison trap, we can adopt the practices of celebration and gratitude.
When we hear of someone else's success, it's important to remind ourselves that their achievement doesn't diminish our own potential for success. By practicing authentic celebration, we enhance our own mood and experience their success as encouragement to pursue our own goals. Congratulating others releases endorphins and allows their joy to become our joy as well.
Practicing gratitude prevents us from seeing someone else's accomplishments as a judgment on our own abilities. After celebrating others, we can reflect on the aspects of our own lives that we're grateful for. This helps us appreciate what is going well and identify areas where we can improve.
The Power to Choose:
We cannot change our social media-saturated world where successes are shared instantly. However, we have the power to shift our mindset. We can transform our negative bias into a positive one. Start by dedicating just 20 seconds each day to celebrate our own achievements and express gratitude for the blessings in our lives. As you grow in practice, take time throughout the day to give thanks and celebrate. These daily habits build resilience and enable us to proactively respond to stressful situations, stay focused on our goals, and remain open to possibilities.
Practicing celebration and gratitude calms our minds and forms the foundation for happiness in an ever-changing world. It allows us to appreciate the generosity and gifts of our friends, family, and colleagues and find joy in walking alongside clients as they pursue personal growth.
In the journey towards contentment, it's crucial to avoid the comparison trap. By embracing celebration and gratitude, we can shift our perspective, unlock our true potential, and find contentment in our own lives. So, let's take a step towards a happier and more fulfilling future by choosing celebration and gratitude over comparison. Keep thriving!