Happiness and Comparison: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Part II

Comparison is a tool, and like any tool it can be used to help or to harm. You can use comparison to exacerbate anger, fear, embarrassment, sadness, shame, guilt… and it can also pull you out from the depths of these mucks when used correctly. Example:

You broke your leg on the last day of school. Goodbye pool parties, Capture the Flag, and neighborhood scavenger hunts. You even had to cancel going away to camp with your best friend, which you’d been psyched about for months. It’s only been a few weeks and already you can tell this is going to be the worst and longest summer ever. You are in a totally foul mood in the waiting room until you see a kid your age in a wheelchair that he’s probably been in his whole life. You suddenly feel very fortunate that after this summer you’ll be able to resume your regular activities. In the space of a few seconds you’ve gotten a new perspective on the situation, which lifts the self-pity and puts compassion within reach. While your moms are standing in line you chat with him. He shows you some cool tricks he can do with his chair. You realize he’s a pretty cool kid, and there’s probably a lot to him that he can deal with his circumstances without being in a foul mood all the time.

And with that simple turn of mind you’ve opened yourself to some pretty big ideas about life. Boom.