The problem with most of us is that we always want to live someone else’s life. We set the so-called “happiness standards” based on the visible lives of others. We are haunted by their apparent happy and happening lives, all thanks to the omnipresent social media. Based on their visible lives around us and on social media, we define our own lives. We don’t even know for how real their lives actual are, we are simply blinded by what they seem to have and we don’t. We promptly choose to ignore and nullify what we already have.
We are sent to school and college by our parents with great hope. We, on the other hand, look at our peers and choose to compare ourselves with those we perceive to be leading better lives than us. In our quest to fit in, we end up desiring to be them. We like what they wear and our own clothes start looking shabby. We wish to go out as often as they do. We start spending our pocket money in matching standards instead of spending on our necessities. We start forgetting the sacrifices of our parents. We start asking for more. But never once it crosses our minds to compare ourselves with peers who are less privileged than we are. Neither we look beyond the the superficial happiness of our “better” friends and and take a peep at their real selves.
One day, we start earning. We chose to spend all of it on ourselves to match our upgraded “happiness standards”. So, it is never enough. Basic necessities of life take a backseat. We desire to fit in among our new better “peers”. In our minds, we are still comparing our lives with our old and new friends. When our pockets are empty, we go to our parents. We don’t even feel that now it’s our turn to take care of them. We continue to take them for granted.
Then, we start our own family with our spouse. “Happiness standards” are upgraded once again. We compare our standings with that of our siblings, relatives, friends and colleagues. We even compare our spouses and children with that of others instead of focusing on the good in them. Instead of giving importance to our familial responsibilities, values and principles, we continue giving importance to maintaining our superficial images and status. We spend our money on branded clothes and accessories, throwing parties, gifting our well-to-do friends and relatives to match standards and even in a desire to receive expensive gifts or favours in return, and in the process, looking down upon our less privileged relatives and friends. We take loans to go on foreign vacations because we too need to share “foreign vacation stories” with our friends. We don’t understand our spouses and children, but click “happy” photos to post on social media, hinting love and happiness. We still don’t care much about our parents. We still look at them as caregivers, free nannies and free loan givers.
We are doing what our “happy” peers are doing. But somehow we are still not happy and feel void inside instead. We are striving to provide our spouses and children with all luxuries. But they are still not happy with us and are still complaining.
We are not understanding that happiness is in our hands, that we can never be happy if we set superficial and abnormally high materialistic “happiness standards”? We are not seeing that instead of running after money and success, if we start focusing on working hard and bettering ourselves everyday, all kind of successes are bound to follow. In our quest of looking towards the superficial upwards, we do not choose to compare ourselves with the ones who are less privileged than us. But if we choose we do so, we will be grateful for everything that we do have in our hands.
Think about those who have to struggle each day for the basic needs of food, clothing and shelter. Think about those who can’t even afford to go to school or college. Think about those who are the only earning member in the entire family, worse they don’t even have a job but have mouths to feed.
Think about those who are not blessed with health. They have terminal or perennial illness, or deformities. Think about what they and their families have to go through, everyday.
Think about those who don’t have elders to fall back on, or worse, they are not even blessed with a family.
If you need to compare at all, compare your life with someone who is less blessed than you are and count your own blessings. Compare yourselves with better spouses, children, parents or friends and strive to be better persons. If you really have to compare, compare with what really matters.