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I have written a post on comparison a few months back, explaining how I think we should fight our tendency to compare ourselves to each other, past or future situations to be happier. I still believe this to be very true, for comparison is a great source of unhappiness as it makes us dissatisfied with our current situation. But I have read an interesting piece about the benefits of comparison, that I wanted to share with you.
As I mentioned already, it is quite impossible to make ourselves stop comparing completely. After digging a bit around this, it turns out imitation is even embedded in our genes. With what scientists call "mirror neurons", we are wired to imitate other human beings, so we can learn new things, fit socially... Then, it is only natural that we also tend to compare each other as well.
Since we can't really help it, can we turn comparison into a positive exercise instead of letting ourselves become unhappy and frustrated?
Comparing to worse situations
For example, if I tend to be unhappy about something, say, the small size of my appartment, yes, I can compare it to the much bigger one my friends from smaller cities live in for a cheaper rent than mine. Or, I can make a positive comparison by thinking of all the good sides of my appartment: it is very cute with wooden floors and a view on a typical Parisian cour intérieure, plus, I live inside the city so I can enjoy all the benefits of Paris, and many other advantages.
Comparison as a goal to move forward to
I'm going to get slightly personal here, but the main role models of my childhood are my grand-uncle (is that how you call your grandfather's brother?) who worked at the French embassy and traveled all around the world his whole life, and my aunt who left the French countryside to become University teacher in England.
These two persons carved my dreams for travel, curiosity about the world and different cultures, ambitions to leave the countryside and aim for a job that would make me travel a lot (which, if you read my blog regularly, you will know I did achieve, especially with all my travels in June).
So in the end, this comparison helped me becoming a better person, and work toward a better, happier life for myself.
I think that, in the end, any difficulty can be turned into an opportunity to grow. Maybe that sounds like self help bullshit, sorry about that. But I think the example of comparison is a good one: either we can let ourselves drown into negative comparisons and let them fuel a low self esteeem, or we can try to turn our natural tendency to compare ourselves to other human beings into something positive.
What do you think? Have you had role models in your life who gave you dreams and made you move forward in your life? What is your take on comparison?