Comparing your life with that of another can put you in a constant state of unhappiness. Why don’t I have __________ like such and such? With the advent of social media, this feeling is often compounded.
Those of us whose children suffered from addiction have, at some point, compared our shattered, roller coaster lives with others whose family life seemed to be humming along perfectly.
However, if you use comparison to trigger inspiration, it can, in fact help you find joy. The key is to recognize the feeling right when it happens to prevent it from taking you into an ugly place, then to pause and think about what you are grateful for in your own life.
At one point, I opened Facebook to see a woman whose child had cancer and the amount of emotional support she had gotten and immediately made the comparison that I never got that kind of support. Not 5 seconds after I saw that post, I realized how utterly ridiculous that was. Instead I recognized it, called myself on it and thought about strategies regarding how I might be a change agent for others who do need support when a loved one suffers from mental illness and/or addiction.
We can use jealousy to destroy each other instead of bolstering and helping each other. Or we can let that pang of jealousy be brief and inspire us to discover new avenues to reach our own goals. Have comparison and the emotion of jealously be a catalyst for admiration and change.
Gratefulness is a way out of the trap that robs us of joy. All we can do is enjoy what we have right now.
Shortly after Charles died, I was intentional in my pledge not to allow bitterness to rule my world. Good God I could cite multiple examples and reasons to be bitter. But I can cite more examples of things to be grateful for. And that’s an important distinction.
So when you wake up in the morning, think of one thing you are thankful for. It’s great way to start your day.