Have I gotten your attention with this title? If not, then I never will.
What I have come to realize is that the universal human characteristic to compare oneself with others is the source of much of our metaphysical suffering.
In essence, we need to 1] become aware of this fact and 2] strive to stop doing it!
On the part of those who feel that their life is tremendously blessed: enjoy it, be grateful and keep it to yourself. Bragging is a sign of an underlying uncertainty and insecurity. It is actually a form of aggression towards others and reflects the need to ‘prove’ your worth to others. It is not a sign of happiness and contentment. And in truth, others will appreciate your modesty, humility and compassion for the rest of humanity who have more overt problems.
Also be aware that EVERYONE has problems of some sort or another. Some are obvious, some not. Some have external signs and signals of distress: loss of job, public disclosure of family or professional difficulties. But even more of us have private problems: interpersonal relationships, mental and emotional turmoil. Some of us are haunted by our past, others obsessed with an unknown future. Outsiders are often unaware of all of this and assume that we have it ‘all’.
The bottom line is this–life is imperfect….on purpose! Life is not a competition between you and someone else–but between you and you! Being the best ‘you’ is the goal of the game.
Difficulties, sufferings are inherent in this physical incarnation. Some may reflect karmic choices prior to this incarnation. They are unknown and unknowable and we should never see misfortune as ‘justified’ based on someone else’s past karma. This much too complex to understand.
Kabbalists speak of a fractured, incomplete universe in which we are given an opportunity to correct or heal it. This is what is meant by tikkun.
As the late French Jesuit paleontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin noted, we are not physical beings having a spiritual experience, but spiritual beings having a human experience.
Inherent in that human experience is to face obstacles and challenge ourselves to deal with them the best we can.
Comparing ourselves with others is irrational and self-defeating. We each have unique and blessed paths to follow. No one else is supposed to deal with your issues, and you are not destined to face theirs.
Looking to those who ‘seem’ to have a better life leads us to jealousy, anger, resentment even hatred. It blocks us from gratitude, peace and enjoying what we do have. It is self-defeating. It is an abyss of negativity and suffering for us. But it is a trap in which we too easily find ourselves.
On the other hand, seeking to feel better by looking at those who have less is not a spiritual choice either. Unless we seek to help others, without our own ego issues involved, then we are merely ‘using’ their suffering to help us feel better. Yet this is karmically corrupt. In effect we are rejoicing in the suffering of others. It is hollow and self-defeating for all involved.
So let us stop comparing ourselves with others. We have more than enough challenges in front of us. We can do more by offering our compassion and love with an open, non-competitive, non-comparing heart. This is the real ‘secret’ to happiness.