It’s always tempting to think that the grass is always greener on the other side, that others always have it better than we do, that we’d be happier – if only we had that person’s job scope, if only we had a spouse like so-and-so, if only we had that much money…
Over the years, I think I’ve learnt (the hard way) that comparing myself with others will only bring me more misery. Thankfully, thoughts on comparing myself with others (Why can’t I be like … Why am I not more…) gave way more to thoughts on learning how to accept myself (It’s ok, you may need more time than others, but you’ll get there if you don’t give up). Of course there are still days when I feel that I would be happier, if only… But I try to stop myself from going too far down that road.
One problem I still face frequently is how to handle people who seem to think that everyone’s grass is greener than theirs, that everyone has it better than them. I do not mind listening to my friends and colleagues talk, rant, complain and whine about their problems, be it at home or at work, but I feel that they have crossed the line when they start making personal remarks like “I’m not as fortunate as YOU… YOU don’t need to… YOU don’t have to… YOU have it so much better…” or any other lines that imply such.
I usually feel waves of anger and indignation swelling up inside me then, but I, being me, usually do quite a good job of hiding it, laughing the person’s insensitive remarks away. Pretending to agree that “Yes, I don’t work as hard as YOU.” “Yes, YOU work the hardest and I am just slacking off compared to YOU.”
I used to wonder why I am the butt of these people’s insensitive remarks, and even reflected on the impression I give others. Am I truly not working hard enough? Am I giving others the impression that I only do the minimal? Just because I pride myself on being efficient, is it something that has been taken the wrong way?
As I got to know some of these people better, I realised – it is not me. There are simply people who will feel that the world surrounding them is better than the world they have. Making comparisons and complaints are their coping mechanisms, albeit rather unhappy ones. So no matter what I do, no matter how much harder I drive myself, they are probably going to go on saying the things they say, thinking the things they think.
And this year, I should do myself the favour of not taking their words too seriously.