In our day-to-day life we can catch ourselves comparing ourselves to others — whether it be in our jobs/career, the dating scene, attractiveness, money and more. In New York (or really anywhere), the environment can sometimes feel so competitive. If we are unaware, we can easily get caught in viewing others as a threat to our own success or even simply having bad “sportsmanship.”
When you are in a comparing competitive mindset, you are losing to yourself because you are coming from a place of lack. You are thinking that there is not enough abundance in the world for you. You view people as your enemy, you are jealous of others, and you either put yourself on a pedestal or lower yourself because you feel you’re not good enough. You blame others or the outside circumstances and make reasons or excuses for why you’re not happy. Happiness, however, is an internal state of mind.
I have been attending a meditation class and the recent teachings are about living life with a fully engaged heart. Living life with a fully engaged heart has the power to remove you from this feeling of isolation and loneliness. When you realize you are dependent upon others (not in a co-dependent way, but that we need others to get food, clothes, etc.) and we cherish others, whether it be the person you get your dry cleaning from, someone in your field of work, or the random person on the subway, and we have compassion for all living beings, you have a peaceful mind. When you make everything you do, all about “me” and spend the majority (if not all day!) thinking about your own benefit, this is very unbalanced. Since we live in a world that is full of others, and you need others to survive, and you spend the whole day thinking about ourselves, this is not logical. Buddhisim, has a very logical and practical approach to life to lead us away from suffering and to peace and the bliss of enlightenment. According to Buddha, the world arises from our mind.
“The total amount of happiness
That exists in the world has come from
Wanting to make others happy.
The total amount of suffering
That exists in the world has come from
Wanting to make yourself happy.”
– Based on the eighth chapter of Master Shantideva’s Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life
We are not in competition with one another. We are in community. We are not separate from on another. All energy is shared. If you feel isolated and alone, observe your mind. Are you thinking about your needs? “‘I’ don’t have..” “It didn’t turn out the way ‘I’ wanted..” “She is better than ‘me’..” This is when we feel disconnected, unhappy and alone.
This idea that you are not good enough, mediocre or have to be better than others to succeed, is a mindset that leads to suffering. When you limit yourself, and hold yourself back from reaching your potential — you, therefore, are limited to helping others reach their highest self.
Can you stop telling yourself “I’m not good enough…” or “I’m better than…” , “Why can’t I…” and start to make an effort to be connected? How can you reframe some of these ideas about other people and the social status’?
This is a great opportunity for you to shift your attitude and ultimately, your perception. Focus on each on of your thoughts. Notice if the thought causes you to feel pain and suffering or peace and happiness. Begin to cultivate thoughts that are more about others and how you can serve them. Can you be more friendly and compassionate to others? How can you serve others?
You must have a vision of the change you want to see. As a meditation, close your eyes and picture yourself connected to all living beings. What would it look like? What would it feel like? What would you be thinking? What would you be doing? Spend a few minutes meditating on this.
Write down your intention about your attitude and life that you desire. Get clear about it and write it down.