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How Much Of Your Happiness Is Based On Your Comparison Other?

August 17, 2012 · 20 comments

in Life

Do you ever visit a friend or relative and end up with house envy?  When you get home, do you notice all the things about YOUR house that you do not like?

I have to admit that has happened to me in the past.

Then I realized how dumb it is to feel this envy.

There are a couple of different choices in life: you can choose to love what you have, or you can choose to love what other people have.  Which choice results in the most happiness?

There will always be people in the world that have it better than you. On the other hand, there will always be people that have it worse than you.  If you feel you must compare your situation, why not look to those that struggle more than you do?  Counting your blessings and maybe reaching out to help those that are less fortunate is way more productive than being angry about what you feel you don’t have (and possibly feel like you should).  You could strive for more and more, and chances are, you are still going to encounter people that live in greater luxury in the future.

So, my ultimate advice is this: when it comes to making any major purchase, think about what you really need.  Also consider the future too, especially if you are buying a home or a car and you plan on expanding your family.  Make the best decision you can, and move on.  Don’t get frustrated when a friend gets a great deal on a huge home because your home is considered modest.  Who cares?  Make your home your own by decorating it to your tastes and enjoy Life there.  You can be happy for your friend, but really, do you need another two thousand square feet in addition to what you already have?   Always striving can be like chasing a moving target.  When you think you have finally ‘arrived’, you may just come across what you feel is the next best thing.  Next thing you know, you are focused on that next item, and you never took the time to appreciate what you already had.

Do you ever feel like life is a constant race to the next thing down the line?  Or, have you found contentment?

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

The Biz of Life August 17, 2012 at 10:27 am

Life is like golf– you’re only playing against yourself. All that really counts is being happy within your own skin.
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Kris August 17, 2012 at 10:48 am

Love that analogy Biz!!!

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Joe @ Retire By 40 August 17, 2012 at 11:02 am

I’m pretty happy with my situation. We went to visit a friend with a huge house by the river. It’s nice, but they want to move… I’m happy for all my friends that have big houses and nice cars. It’s unavoidable to feel a little jealousy, but it passes pretty quickly for me. :)
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first gen American August 17, 2012 at 3:01 pm

I have had the benefit of living below poverty level for a long time. I know my quality of life is excellent yet we strive for more as well. There is a fine line between ambition and discontent. There is a certain drive some of us have that pushes us to new and ever changing goals. Enjoying the journey is sometimes the hard part.
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Don August 17, 2012 at 7:14 pm

Yeah, but I find ways to discount it in my mind, and usually I feel happy for the friend that has the better “this or that”.
Don recently posted..Frugal Weight Loss Update 215

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Crystal @ Prairie Ecothrifter August 17, 2012 at 8:19 pm

I do feel envy sometimes, but generally it is over something silly that passes. If it doesn’t pass in a few months, I save for whatever it is that I want…it’s usually been a vacation. We are currently buying way more house than we really need, but I do not think it was to keep up with anybody I know…we just wanted it and can afford it. We figured that life is short and we spend a ton of time at home, so it fits as being our biggest expense. We still hope to pay it off in 10 years or less while continuing saving for early retirement though. We’ll see. Life changes quickly…
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Gen Y Finance Journey August 20, 2012 at 11:42 am

I used to feel envious of really silly things like clothes, shoes and accessories. I’ve realized that there are certain triggers for me – namely TV shows and movies like Sex and the City and the Devil Wears Prada or looking through style magazines. Those things make high end fashion seem so glamorous and desirable, but as soon as I stop paying attention to stuff like that, my desire for nice clothes completely goes away. It’s always good to identify the things that cause those pangs of jealousy in you so you can avoid them at all costs!
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Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager August 20, 2012 at 3:14 pm

I’m happy right where I’m at. Which I think makes it easier for me to be happier for my friends wherever they are at. Although I get tested a lot when my friends talk about traveling to far off and exotic places…

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Moneycone August 21, 2012 at 8:47 am

Envy is a natural response, I don’t think you can totally get rid of it. What you can do is choose how to respond to it. You could try to do better instead of bringing down your ‘opponent’.

When the Russians conquered space with Sputnik, we didn’t try to shoot it down, we tried to do better. That’s putting envy to good use!
Moneycone recently posted..The Five Minute Retirement Plan

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Charlotte @Dining Out Challenge August 21, 2012 at 9:56 pm

I think we’re all guilty of some envy. It’s just what you do about it that matters. Accepting what you have and where you are in life is what counts. Don’t Worry, Be Happy!
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Little House August 27, 2012 at 9:52 am

I think at some point, everyone is jealous of someone else, whether it’s what they own or the choices they made (by this I mean feeling that I’m an idiot and they are brilliant!) I just try to take a step back, be thankful for what I have, and keep working toward my goals. As long as I’m on track, I feel a lot better, it’s when I’m off track that I start giving in to envy! ;)
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Mike Collins August 29, 2012 at 11:26 am

I think we all compare ourselves to one another at times, and it can be difficult not to. But you have to learn to put those feelings aside or they’ll get you into trouble. I like your idea of looking at those less fortunate and being grateful for what we have.
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Financial Independence August 30, 2012 at 3:24 am

I think to the greatest extend. We are comparing ourselves to the people we think alike : neighbors, friends, class mates, etc..
It is very difficult to be completely isolated and just go with what you like. I do not get frustrated with others success, but I do want to learn and eager to understand how did they get there.
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Christa September 3, 2012 at 4:52 pm

It’s hard to never feel jealous, but counting your blessings sure can help keep the green-eyed monster away!
Christa recently posted..Teaching Kids About Debt

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Dave September 15, 2012 at 1:09 am

#1 – Get back to writing – we miss you!

#2 – “An attitude of gratitude will take you to the ultimate altitude”

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One Minute Cure September 16, 2012 at 10:37 am

I am happy with my present situation..
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Leslie November 8, 2012 at 11:47 am

I believe that perception plays a lot into this. I believe I have a modest home, but others (who I think have amazing houses) think my home is fantastic and they have some envy going on. I believe we stop appreciating what we have and our perception of what others have can get skewed.
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