Why do I live by valuing and comparing everything?

Commentary by Isabel Hernández Negrín, Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain.

To start with, let me ask you:

Do you realise that we are always comparing things?

It is something that we may not notice, but there are some details that can give you a clue: living with a feeling of nostalgia for the past, taking it for granted that yesterday was better than today, although it is not true at all, judging others implies some form of assessment about a thing or about yourself, feeling envy, healthy or not, is a comparison, judging how much money others have; not appreciating yourself, that is, feeling that there are others who are better than me, so that I despise a part of myself which I feel does not come up to scratch, disliking myself because of the life I lead, wanting to move house, or change job, that is, I feel that I come out of it badly when I make comparisons between my life and others’ and I look for an improvement by making these changes.
Result: I am never satisfied with my life.

Comparisons seem to be a very ancient impulse linked to survival within the social group in which we live.
If we lived alone on an island there possibly would not be comparisons of this kind.

But we are not on an island, we live surrounded by people and by opportunities to make an infinite number of comparisons.
We make comparisons to ensure that we achieve better conditions than others, to feel secure, and that way to avoid the fear of losing something.

Losing whatever is important to us, a good physique, reputation, the trust of others, a job, a partner, the acceptance of our friends or family, social position, the image I have cultivated of myself and a myriad other things. Therefore, we consider everyone as rivals. Ultimately, as always, we are seeking security and to sense this security we need to confirm whether we have everything that we believe we need.

Therefore, life is always a bit stormy, although perhaps we do not realise that we are absorbed in this spiral of anxiously seeking security. If you recognise any of these traits in yourself and you manage to smile, then you have gained a lot. You have succeeded in seeing the vicious cycle, and you are fortunate. Observe yourself in your everyday life and do a bit of research to understand how this impulse works in you when it appears. If you do it without censuring yourself, feeling grateful that you have noticed it, you will become less and less dependent on this sickly cycle that always makes us revolve around possessing something that we do not have or fearing something that we do have. You do not need me to tell you that this is torture because if, in reading this, you have recognised it, you know what I am talking about. When you surprise yourself in the act of making a comparison, observe the tension you feel, the insecurity and what you fear then let it pass and feel fortunate that you have got off this particular band wagon. You will definitely be happier! Other people will cease to be your rivals and will be transformed into companions on your journey through life.