I find it to be human nature to see people who have things you wish you had or are doing things you wish you were doing and wish you were in that position. Maybe you want the freedom or the opportunities that wealth can bring. Maybe you want to be able to influence people the way a very charismatic speaker can. Or maybe you just want to be successful.
We are very good at looking at those who we think are better off then us and comparing ourselves to them.
It is less prevalent to remember to look at the flip side of the coin as well. Your life may look like heaven to someone else. To someone who is a worse position than you are.
Maybe your job looks fabulous to someone who is unemployed or to someone who is barely making minimum wage. Maybe your house looks like a mansion to someone who is living in a studio apartment with two other people or to a homeless person living on the street.
Last week I was reminded of that thought in the simplest of ways. I went to Tel Aviv with my visiting cousin Rebecca on one of the hottest days of the year. I am not kidding when I say our clothing was glued to us about 5 minutes after we got out of the car. We had a wonderful time even though we were so sticky and hot.
On the way back to the car we saw a Hassidic man waiting for a bus. For those who are unfamiliar, the Hassidic Jews dress in black suits, white shirts and hats.
I took one look at him and all that went through my head was, he must be so much warmer than I am. I should thank my stars that although I am dying of heat, I must be cooler than he is.
When I find myself comparing myself and my life to those who have more than me or who are doing things I want to do I remember that it is all about perspective. Why not remember how many people would be happy to be living my life? I remind myself to look at the “cup” as half full instead of half empty. It helps me to stop and remember how lucky and blessed I am.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan goals or have dreams. Having a sense of purpose and goals and working hard are important. What we need to remember is that no matter how far we go, there will be someone doing a bit better than us. There will also be those who are worse off than you. If we can remember how far we have come and how lucky we are right now in this moment with all we have in our lives, we might be able to learn to live life in it’s fullest.
Do you find that remembering that there are people who are worse off than you are helps you to cope?