Grateful people are happy people. But when I compare myself to others, it destroys my ability to be grateful and happy.
Why is that? I believe it's because I never compare myself to people who are worse off than I am. I only compare myself to those who appear to be better off.
It takes no effort to compare myself to others who look better off than I am. It's as automatic as breathing. I see what they have - - talent, money, possessions, etc. -- and in comparison I'm always left feeling shortchanged, and not very happy about it.
But here's an interesting question: What would happen if I chose instead to intentionally compare myself to people who have less than I do?
I did that today. I turned my attention to people around me - - friends, family, acquaintances and the guy holding a cardboard sign at the intersection downtown - - and I pondered the difference between their lives and mine.
My first impression was guilt. Why ahould I be doing so well when so many others are not? The friend fighting cancer. The family who lost a child in a car accident. The family whose finances are in shambles. By comparison, my life is literally amazing.
But if I dwell upon guilt, I won't choose to think this way. (Maybe that's why I don't make eye contact with the guy holding the cardboard sign at the intersection?)
All it takes for me to be grateful is to pay attention to just how fortunate, how blessed, I am in the every day matters of life. If something aweful isn't happening to me today, my life is awesome and deserving of my gratefulness! Trials and tribulations are normal life for all of us, so any day that is free of them is awesome and deserving of my gratitude.
Happy people are grateful people who appreciate what they have instead of what they don't!