It is easy to get caught up in the world’s analysis. The world bases its analytic scrutiny of personal worth and value on comparisons. And it teaches us and our children to do the same. Unfortunately, this never works out well. On one hand, we may compare ourselves with those who have more than we do—more wealth, more opportunity, more personal strengths in particular area, more resources. As a result, we feel bad, not good enough, inadequate, and unworthy.
On the other hand, we might compare ourselves to those who made different choices than we did and then beat ourselves up with the stones of “if only I had….” Of course, we might compare ourselves with those who “have it worse than us.” As so many say, “there are always those who have it worse than us.” But that comparison runs the risk of making us arrogant and even entitled.
The analysis of comparison just isn’t the best way to go. But what is the alternative? Gratitude. Specifically, self-gratitude. How can you practice self-gratitude?
Start by viewing yourself with eyes of kindness, understanding, and support. Instead of beating yourself up for choices you wish you hadn’t made, give thanks for what you have learned and how you have grown. Recognize any good that came to you through the choice you made…and give thanks.
Continue to view yourself through eyes of kindness and humble understanding and identify your strengths and abilities. Recognize your talents, your skills, your abilities… and give thanks.
Think about your resilience and your dedication. The times you have overcome obstacles and carried on in spite of difficulties. Reflect on your determination, your spark…and give thanks.
Take time to acknowledge your kindness to others, your acts of compassion toward others… and give thanks.
Take one more moment to consider areas of your life in which you experience contentment. Maybe you want a new car, but you are content, for the moment, with the car you have. Perhaps you want to become a more skilled musician but, for the moment, you are content to practice and enjoy what you know. Contentment does not hinder progress and improvement. It merely sets the stage for enjoying your current ability or status; and that enjoyment opens the door for even better improvement and growth. Consider those areas of contentment in our life…and give thanks.
Set aside comparisons and take up the practice of gratitude instead:
- Gratitude for areas of personal growth.
- Gratitude for strengths, character, and abilities
- Gratitude for areas of contentment.
And teach your family to do the same.