Comparing Your Life To Others
“You must not let your life run in the ordinary way; do something that nobody else has done, something that will dazzle the world. Show that the creative principle works in you.” — Paramahansa Yogananda
Are you at war or at peace with your life?
Does it feel like a series of challenges to overcome than a journey of self-discovery and fulfillment?
It’s important to know how you feel about your life’s journey to make sense of it. Perhaps you haven’t given it much thought, yet below the surface something is simmering.
You might find yourself reacting to situations or becoming frustrated things aren’t going your way.
I want to put your mind at ease because what you’re experiencing is normal and you are bound to face it from time to time.
It’s no use complaining, since what you focus your attention on will only grow stronger. As a testament to this, when I’m running seminars, I often ask audience members to close their eyes and bring their awareness to a part of their body in pain.
I invite them to focus on the discomfort and identify what the pain feels like. This exercise lasts a few minutes before they open their eyes and describe the emotional relationship to their pain.
Many people describe the pain with intensity. Once they recognise these emotions, I ask them whether they are apparent in their life.
It is my experience that what a person feels in their body as pain or discomfort is a result of what is going on in their life.
The mind-body experience is powerful, and if you’re not aware what is happening below the level of your thoughts, it can manifest as pain in the body to draw your awareness to it.
Author Matt Kahn touches on this idea of releasing cellular debris by identifying with your pain in Whatever Arises, Love That: A Love Revolution That Begins with You: “Just by bringing greater attention to the part of your body where strong emotions or physical pain linger, you are loosening each layer of cellular memory to assist in another moment of healing.”
Many people are unhappy with their lives and compare it to others which only intensifies their pain.
It’s natural to compare yourself to other people when you’re not living to your fullest potential. But that is unwise because you are comparing your behind-the-scenes to everyone else’s highlight reel.
No Two Journeys Are The Same
In this period of Instagram living where everyone Photoshops the best version of their lives, it’s difficult to find your way amongst the disingenuous.
You will never get it right as long as you’re alive because there’s always something to learn: something to gain, something to let go of, to heal, to overcome or make peace with.
Your life is a wonderful journey of peaks and valleys, and it is unfolding perfectly contrary to your beliefs.
There’s a simple message from author Tommy Baker who writes in The 1% Rule: How to Fall in Love with the Process and Achieve Your Wildest Dreams: “As you go on about your own race, your life’s journey, remember to stay in your lane. While watching others can give you a boost of inspiration, the real win is keeping your eyes on the daily prize as your successes start to add up, and the transformation that has evaded you comes to life.”
Your life’s journey is a delightful narrative shaped by you, the director, the producer and main character. You can manifest a better version of your life if you’re willing to take control instead of believing you are powerless.
You have the potential to create the ideal conditions when you your power is something that must be cultivated, not left to chance. Up till now, you haven’t guided this power properly and because of this your problems seem bigger than you.
It was Albert Einstein who said: “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” That is, you must step outside your known paradigms and consider your situation from a different perspective, with fresh eyes.
Moreover, you may not know what you want out of life, which is reflected through your current circumstances. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean you are not complete or whole, just that you haven’t taken action to steer your life in a different direction.
Your life is a magnificent unfolding performance and you needn’t tie it to how successful you are now because success is transient. Success comes and goes, and whilst it may last years, it can unravel like a sequined necklace if an area of your life goes south.
You must fall in love with your life’s journey and make it yours, because no two journeys are the same, not even among twins. Comparing your life to others seldom brings peace and joy, but only heartache and misery, because you think you’re not living to your fullest potential.
What if you are?
What if your potential is being unearthed through your setbacks and challenges?
What if the thing you dislike about your life is creating the circumstances for your life’s journey to flourish in the years ahead?
It was the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius who said: “The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.”
To put it another way, author Mary O’Malley writes in What’s in the Way Is the Way: A Practical Guide for Waking Up to Life: “Everything in your life—especially your challenges—is tailor-made to help you see your stories of struggle. Whatever is in the way is the way!”
When The Hero’s Journey Is Complete
To fall in love with your life it’s imperative to embrace the journey replete with the lows. I’m not suggesting you fall in love with misery or disappointment, but consider them fleeting moments in your life’s journey. They’re intended to advance you, not stop you, since your journey is exactly as it should be.
However, if you become mired in your circumstances, you will think your problems are bigger than you and be unable to overcome them.
Problems are not stop signs, they are “give way” signs. They give way to your greatest potential because without obstacles and challenges how will you realise who you truly are?
It is what psychotherapist David Richo explains in The Five Things We Cannot Change: And the Happiness We Find by Embracing Them: “Saying yes to reality—to the things we cannot change—is like choosing to turn around and sit in the saddle in the direction the horse is going.”
To discover your true essence, reach into your core being where your setbacks and challenges can be overcome. The good and bad news is, none of us are immune to them, not even the Instagram stars. I wager that if they compiled the low points of their life online, there would only be a handful of followers.
So embrace this one life you are given.
Savor the highs points and welcome the low points because contrast serves a purpose: to help you discover what is meaningful to you.
What is your life’s narrative leading you towards?
Is it one of persistence, compassion, self-esteem or courage?
As the main star of your show, there’s a theme or narrative that interweaves through each scene until the final one when the hero’s journey is complete.
Don’t give up on the hero’s journey, because when everything seems bleak with no end in sight, that is when your life will come together exactly as it should.