Choosing wise comparisons



My internet connection stopped working on Tuesday.
For a moment it felt like my world was going to fall apart.
But, instead of swearing VERY loudly (thanks to the fear of waking my napping kids) I took it as a sign to work on a feature article.
This was quite productive until I started doing some research on my ipad and I ended up stuck in a very unhelpful web of thoughts I call ‘website envy’.
I was looking at the sites of respondants to my shout out for a source. I found a great one. But in the process I came across so many beautiful websites.
I love design, colour and typology and there I was stuck comparing my site to everyone else’s.
When I saw one I liked, that I thought was better and had more to offer than mine, I felt bad. Then I compared my website to one I didn’t like and I thought mine was better and I felt superior.
But the truth was that my website never changed, it was just my feelings about it that changed depending on what I compared it to.
It made me think how this can be applied to all sorts of things.
As Dr David Niven writes in his book 100 Secrets of Happy People, “Many of our feelings of dissatisfaction or satisfaction have their roots in how we compare ourselves to others.”
Compared to those who have more we feel bad and compared to those who have less we feel grateful.
Next time I start comparing myself to others websites, health, wealth and happiness I am going follow Niven’s suggestion and to choose examples that are meaningful but make me feel comforatable with who I am and what I have.