It can happen so quickly.
That crumbling of confidence and hope as envy and jealousy enter the heart.
And in the unlikeliest situations.
From standing outside your home chatting with a neighbor, seeing a social media update from a friend, reading a magazine article about “someone that you used to know”.
Or it might seep into your consciousness as you’re having a quiet morning coffee at your local cafe, slowly easing your way into the day and feeling pretty happy with your life!
When the “comparison virus” enters our head and then our heart it hurts.
Here’s some examples of what can set this virus rampant in our system:
- “He’s bought another block of land overlooking the ocean and now I have to work with the architect to build another home…I mean I’ve got enough to do with our house in town, at the country and our other property at the beach.”
- “She wants us to go to Europe again for 6 weeks and tour the gardens and wineries, but we did that 2 years ago…”
- “When he graduates from university we’re giving him our apartment in town…we don’t really use it much anyway and with a rooftop pool and 3 bedrooms, we’re sure it will give him a leg up into the property market…”
Whether we’re talking to someone who has exactly what we want, have overheard a conversation or read about “someone else” our brain usually goes into the same panicked overdrive.
Before logic and cool reason can step in and take charge though, the jealous thoughts go something like this:
- “How freaking lucky are they…why are they complaining about having more beautiful properties…and at the beach with ocean views…how ungrateful is she?”
- “I haven’t had a decent holiday for 4 years now and he’s complaining about going to Europe for 6 weeks…*in a sarcastic tone* what a hard, awful life he must have!”
- “So this guy finishes university, gets a great job and has property gifted to him by his wealthy parents…some people are really born into the luckiest families…why didn’t I get them for parents?”
Once we’ve cooled down though our head begins to ache as we desperately try to figure out how they’re “so lucky”.
We just want their life and we want it now goddam it!
We project ourselves:
- Into their perfect life,
- Walking around in their perfect beach home,
- Travelling first class on their perfect holiday and
- Being given the perfect apartment.
And then the “comparison virus” gets even trickier with the way it invades our mind, body and spirit.
It starts to poison us by making us believe so strongly that if we could just switch lives with them, we would be happier, wealthier, better.
But behind the facade of everyone’s life lies depths of complexities and complications that we wouldn’t want and couldn’t live with.
Their relationships with their family & friends wouldn’t suit us.
The expectations placed on them would seem ridiculous.
And if we could listen to their internal dialogue, it would be just as worried and thwarted with insecurities as our own.
Because underneath it all we’re the same.
When the “comparison virus” starts to niggle at you, don’t judge or be deceived by outward appearances. Your life path (yup, cliched but true!) can’t be the same as the next person.
Is there an antidote available?
The often used to “be grateful for what you have, make a list, acknowledge what’s good…” can help.
Yet in the midst of a “comparison virus outbreak” the last thing your mind will do easily is slip into is, I’m grateful for:
- A roof over my head,
- Clean drinking water,
- Healthy body….
Acknowledging that the virus has hit you is easier and will allow you to get grounded and take charge quicker.
And a simple “hello” to what’s going can stop the thoughts of “everyone is so much better off than me” heading towards the tunnel of despair and anxiety.
What helps you?