3 min. read
I’ve sometimes been riding what feels like an emotional roller-coaster this last year or so. Super up one day and then plummeting the next, or sometimes even later that same day.
One thing that can bring me down is seeing happy, shiny social media posts of people doing fun and exciting things when the highlight of my week has been grocery shopping. I don’t want them to stop doing the cool stuff they’re doing; I just want to be doing something cool too.
Comparing my grocery shopping day to someone’s fun, vacation day can be a ticket into a downward spiral of feeling sorry for myself and dissatisfaction with my boring life. It can feel like everyone else is doing cool, fun stuff and I’m not doing anything. I don’t like that feeling. It sucks the joy out of life. Comparison, as someone smart once said, is an instant recipe for unhappiness. Yup!
Sometimes I think that avoiding social media is the answer. I wouldn’t be comparing myself to others if I wasn’t seeing what they’re doing. But unfortunately, “Avoiding your triggers isn’t healing. Healing happens when you’re triggered and you’re able to move through the pain, the pattern, and the story – and walk your way to a different ending.”1
So how to change the pattern and get to a different ending? I heard Caroline Myss2 say about a similar situation that “this moment is not about my life path, it’s about their life path.” That really helped put things in perspective for me. Often, I’ve been perfectly happy with my day until I saw what someone else was doing and, bam, instant recipe for unhappiness.
Caroline also said that we are “better served to bless what’s happening to them rather than resent it.” So, I’ve been working on strengthening my empathic joy muscle, the ability to share “the thrill of another’s achievements and happiness.”3
I recently heard news of someone starting out on an exciting adventure and even though I wasn’t doing anything remotely exciting at the time, I reminded myself that this was their life path and sent them love. Just doing those two small things helped me create a different ending. Instead of being brought down by resentment because their life looked better at that moment, I was able to feel joy for them and it actually lifted my happiness level.
Cool. An instant recipe for happiness. I like that ending much better.
1 Vienna Pharaon, www.newyorkcouplescounseling.com
2 Caroline Myss, www.myss.com
3 Aware: The Science and Practice of Presence by Daniel J. Siegel, MD