The toxicity of comparison and why you should meet your heroes
Not too long ago I got a chance to hear an idol of mine speak at a webinar. This person had given me a perspective on happiness that was a catalyst in my self-development journey. One of his books inspired me immensely, in which he talked about deep philosophical and spiritual practices in relation to happiness which allowed me to place pretty much anything that happened in life into a positive context. It felt like magic. Unsurprisingly, I couldn’t wait to meet him. I was hyped.
So I joined the webinar…and well..it sucked. The depth of wisdom that had once touched the core of my soul through his book was non-existent in his speech. When he elaborated on the ideas in his book, I found myself doubting his expertise. He didn’t really seem convinced about his own methods and couldn’t answer a lot of questions. Much of his advice in the webinar was shallow and most of it came down to “quit whining about your situation and just be happy, because other people have it way worse”.
Not very inspiring or helpful huh? We all know someone has it worse, but the entire issue of happiness is that it’s relative to our own experiences and interpretations. When we fall as a toddler we start crying our hearts out because it’s quite literally the worst thing we’ve experienced up until that point. As you grow older you don’t give a shit if you trip, while having to balance work, your partner, your friends and personal time may send you down a spiral.
Point being: at various times in our lives, similar occurrences can have varying degrees of impact on us. Remembering that other people have it worse could help some people a little, but it sure as hell wasn’t the magic pill that I had once swallowed when reading his book. And just like that, one of my personal idols got downgraded to someone that didn’t seem to really know what he was talking about.
Why this rant about one of my ex-heroes? Well firstly, I just don’t like the guy anymore and felt like venting. More importantly, it links to our topic of today: happiness and how this is affected by us thinking we know what other people are thinking and doing.