Comparison is the thief of joy. Thanks, Teddy Roosevelt.
The tendency we have to compare ourselves to others may be very human. But if we don't know what's important to us, we'll find ourselves going down a road of constant comparison, lost and unable to find our way out. With only ever more things to feel inadequate about.
That's not going to end well.
Someone will always have more. Nobody is perfect. Most people aren't that happy anyway, despite appearances. There's an awful of lot of emptiness out there that no amount of money, status, or things can fix.
So what is it we're really hungering for? Because judging ourselves in relation to others is a useless habit that puts the focus out there, on the external world. Instead of in here where it should be: on ourselves.
I think most people just want to feel alive. To feel some happiness, connection, and meaning. But we're never going to feel alive trying to live someone else's life.
Sometimes life throws at us an opportunity, many times a catastrophe, to shake us out of the spell. Loss, illness, the end of a relationship - struggles like these often help us reprioritize our lives faster than we ever imagined possible, helping us confront what matters most.
We don't really have all that much time anyway. How much of it do we want to waste chasing the illusions of happiness - of others who are equally lost?
Instead, we could ask ourselves: what brings me joy? What do I value that can't be bought? What excites me and lights me up? How can I be present right now with the people I love? What do I feel grateful for? What will I miss most when I'm gone?