Keeping Up With the Joneses

My freshman year in college, I went on a service trip to Tijuana, Mexico. One of the highlights from this trip was being able to help construct a house for a family that didn’t have any place to live. Even though we didn’t finish building the house while we were there, the group I was with was able to see a completed house that other groups had just helped to build.

Now although the house that we saw was two stories high, it was no bigger than a regular sized elementary school classroom. When we arrived at that house the family living there welcomed us with open arms into their home, and they excitedly showed us around their small abode. When the oldest girl opened the door to her bedroom and showed us the room that she shared with her sister, we saw only a simple room that housed a single mattress that the girls shared with each other. The mother opened up another door and showed us the bathroom that was no bigger than a closet, and yet this family could not help but be grateful for and excited about their new home.

Time and time again, I hear stories of people going to the poverty stricken parts of places like Mexico or Africa and coming into contact with people who have barely anything, and even though these people have considerably less than we do, they are still happier than anyone that I have yet to come across in my life. Part of this stems from the fact that they have no need to compare what they have to other people. They aren’t concerned about the latest version of the iphone or with who is wearing what. When you’re living in a constant state of poverty, you don’t care that you don’t have access to an abundance of superfluous gadgets and gizmos; you just start to become thankful and happy for what little you do have. When you don’t know where your next full meal is coming from, keeping up with the Joneses doesn’t seem so important.

Unlike people in the poorer parts of the world, many of us have grown up having everything that we needed to survive, and as wonderful as that is to say, it also comes with a cost. We don’t have to worry about starving to death or dying from an illness that could have been prevented by a simple vaccine, so we occupy our minds by worrying about other things. We start to become too preoccupied with what other people have and we start to obsess about why we don’t have what they have.

We become jealous when our co-worker has a new designer bag.

That green-eyed monster escapes from his cage when we see our neighbor pull up in front of her house in the newest BMW.

We think less of ourselves when we hear that our classmates are further along in their career than we are.

We view ourselves as less pretty whenever we open up a magazine and cast our eyes upon models with “the perfect body.”

We become unhappier and unhappier with our lives each and every time we compare ourselves to someone who is better looking, smarter, funnier, more successful, skinnier, more talented, richer, or stronger than we are.

Positive thinker, there comes a time in all our lives when we start to compare ourselves to someone else that we think is doing better than we are, and when we start to do that we are only causing ourselves harm. You start to lose sight of who you are because you are constantly trying to be someone else. When you’re too busy trying to be like person X, you will ultimately stop trying to be like you. Positive thinker, you waste precious time and energy when you compare yourself to other people. When you are so concerned with how you stack up compared to someone else you are taking away from precious time that you could be using to better yourself, and if you are continuously worrying about what everyone around you is doing and if you are constantly trying to have what they have then you can never truly be happy with all of the wonderful things that you do have.

Whenever you find yourself comparing yourself to someone else positive thinker, try to remember that every single solitary person on this earth is uniquely made, and because of this fact you shouldn’t try to compare yourself to anyone else. People go through various events and experiences at different times in their lives because everyone is different. You shouldn’t compare yourself to other people because no matter how hard you try you can never be that person that you are trying so hard to measure up to. You can only be the best you you can be. So instead of trying to live the life of someone else positive thinker, focus on living your life and becoming the best version of yourself instead of the better version of someone else. Trust me; you’ll be a lot happier for it in the long run.

Remember positive thinker, “happiness is found when you stop comparing yourself to other people.”

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