Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Assassins of Joy: COMPARISON

Morning Fabulous Folk!

WARNING! Stay away from the Joneses; keeping up with them is a surefire joy stealer!

What is so alluring about comparing ourselves with others? They have a bigger house, she's smarter, he's more athletic, they cook better, she's thinner, he's got a better lawn, they've just bought the newer version of my phone, she got a bigger tax return, he drives a faster car...THAN ME...Oh Woe Is Me. Poor Me :-(

So why, oh why, oh why, oh why, do we do this to ourselves?

1. Is it fun? No
2. Does it make us feel better? Often not
3. Does it help others? No
4. Is it productive? No

Regardless of all the above, comparing ourselves to others is a national, cultural and perhaps even a human pastime. Comparison is generally played in a 'northerly direction' meaning we look UP towards people who we perceive have more, do better, and generally inhabit the life we want.

'Southerly facing' comparison where we look DOWN on others who have less than us is much less common, because heaven forbid we should actually find out that we are comparatively affluent, healthy, smart and well blessed! Whatever would we have to complain about then?

Comparison starts early when we're compared with other babies in terms of our ability to grow sprout teeth, grow hair, walk, play nicely with others; it continues all through kindergarden, school, college, work and permeates every facet of life. Advertising is based on comparison, reality TV is based on comparison, it's pervasive and it's not healthy.

Joy is a gift of the moment. It can't be planned for, scheduled or allocated - it just shows up, you have to be present to experience joy. Comparison by its very nature makes us leave the present behind and instead focus on what could be, what might have been and what won't be. In order to compare ourselves with others we have to leave the present which is where joy hangs out.

Comparison is also a breeding ground for things like envy, obsession, greed, destructive competition and other socially isolating traits.

So let's not do it.

Today let's try and focus on the present and seek out JOY, if we find ourselves comparing in a 'northerly direction' lets immediately flip it and look at the 'southerly direction' too; how could we help others who don't have it as good as we do?

Let's be all that God created us to be today, knowing that who we are, where we are and what we have is enough. And that's all there is to it.


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