It's all about ways and means to be happy
|Today again I will start with a question. Why is it that we keep comparing ourselves with others throughout our lives? Is it because we derive our self worth from others? Many of our parents compare us with our siblings and then pass judgments based on that comparison. If the judgment goes against us don't we feel angry? Don't we feel that it is unfair to compare this way? And yet we ourselves make the same mistake and pass judgments on us or others based on those comparisons.
If I ask which one is better a pencil or a pen will that make sense? Both have their utility in their particular areas and so it is stupid to compare them. In the same way it is stupid to compare one person with another person because essentially each and every person is unique. But then this is exactly what we do throughout our lives.
When we are a kid we wonder why our siblings or friends have got better toys than us and cry. When we grow a little older and go to school, our parents compare us with all sorts of children and wonder why we are not as intelligent as some other kid. In fact even if you get a second rank in class, instead of being congratulated you would probably be compared with the first guy and scolded! And then we grow a little more and realize that all our friends have girlfriends or boyfriends and we don't have one or all our friends wear "cool dresses" and "hang out" in “cool places” and we don't, and get depressed. Then one day we get a job and start working and still many of us are not happy probably because some other relative or friend has got a better job than us, or a better wife than us. Then we compare our kids with the neighbor’s kids and scold them even if they have improved and thus the life goes on and we keep comparing and keep making our lives a misery.
I myself was the victim of this mentality. As a small kid I always desired what my friends had. If I happened to get the particular object I desired, then I would long for something else, and thus my longing for things never ended. Well, I was a kid then and didn’t know what I was doing. Now that I am grown up I can see the fatality of this mindset. But unfortunately many others are not as lucky as me. They don’t see the point that life isn’t about trying to get what other’s have; it is about enjoying what we have right now.
We all measure our success in comparison to someone else’s; we all want to win the race of life. But what we forget is that this race is a rat race. Even if we win this race we will still remain a rat. And in trying to win this race of life we forget to pause and appreciate what gifts we have got. Come to think of it most of us have something or the other to cherish and be happy about but we compare our gifts with others and forget to enjoy whatever we have.
Once, a man got Aladdin’s lamp. He immediately called the Genie and ordered him to fulfill his wishes. The Genie warned the man that he will fulfill his wishes on the condition that whatever the man gets, his neighbor will get double of that. Not realizing what he was doing, the man asked for riches and a big house. Sure he got it but the neighbor got two houses and double his wealth. The man raged with anger and went into a depression and cursed himself for making the wish. Finally he decided to ask for one more wish from the Genie. He asked the Genie to make him blind in one eye. Sure enough, the neighbor lost both his eyes.
Though we might laugh and forget about this story but many times we also act like the man of the story. Isn't it time we thanked God for whatever He has given us and enjoy our lives without comparing us with others? I believe it is.
Not just comparison, people even fall prey to the trap of “deferred happiness”. People keep setting goals and telling themselves that they will enjoy life when the goal is fulfilled. But unfortunately, when one goal is accomplished another one crops up immediately, and so the happiness also gets deferred. What we don’t realize is that happiness isn’t about reaching goals; goals are just points on the scale of life, we can’t stay there for long. We have to move and reach out for the next goal. Real happiness is about enjoying the journey towards the goal, because that’s where we live our life, that’s where happiness exists.
When I was in school I only studied and never enjoyed myself thinking that in college I will enjoy. But when I came to college I realized that I will have to get a job and so started working hard for that job hoping that when I get it I will be happy. Now that I have a good job and I am working I have finally realized the futility of the whole thing. Otherwise I would have maybe waited to have my family to be happy and maybe after that some other reason. And when I would have left with no reason to defer my happiness I would have realized, sadly, that there’s no life to be lived. Fortunately for me I have learned the secret to happiness. Have you?
Life is about living and cherishing the small moments of happiness that comes to us every day of our lives. It is not about waiting for the big moment, because unfortunately, the big moment never comes. It is just a mirage.
Why don’t we all stop comparing and be happy each and every day of our lives. Do we need a special reason to be happy? Isn’t the fact that we are born as human beings and not some insignificant insect, reason enough for us to be happy throughout our lives? I believe it is.