“Thou shall not covet thy neighbours goods”.
We all do it. Compare what we have to those around us. Whether its our friends, acquaintances or just people we see, I’m sure we’re all guilty of coveting things we don’t have. Maybe someone you know drives a better or newer car than you. Maybe they have a flashier watch or a bigger house. How does it make you feel when you see someone doing better than you? Sure, you might feel some sense of happiness for them, but I’m willing to bet a good part of you wonders why it isn’t you driving a brand new car or living in a bigger house. It doesn’t matter if they work harder or have a higher paying job – the green eyed monster will still make you compare your belongings to theirs. This, I feel, is a major source of unhappiness in our lives. That sense of “the grass is always greener on the other side” is the kind of mindset to drive one to their demise as we’re always left chasing what we hope will be better than the situation we’re in.
Now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with chasing a better future – working hard to better a bad situation or financial position, but there gets to be a point where you must ask, am I chasing the dragon or looking to just be better off. Because realistically we need to ask ourselves, how much is ever enough? How much money in the bank? How many cars in the driveway or shoes in our cupboards? As humans we are self driven and greedy creatures. This, I believe is one of our greatest flaws. Regardless of how much we have, we always want more. This attitude of greed leads us to look over to our ‘neighbour’ to see how much they have, in order to gauge how much more we need. Because if we have less, that will make us want more. This, in turn, leads to the ‘elitist’ mentality – whereby if we have more money or possessions than someone else, we assume we are better than he/she with less.
I feel that this whole mentality and mindset has been instilled in us from a young age as we have been conditioned by major companies to be consumers. And so when we are not consuming, we aren’t happy. I’m by no means perfect, and I myself fall victim to this sheepish and greedy mentality of wanting more all the time, but I believe that unless we shift our mentality drastically, we will never be happy as we will constantly chase that which we feel we need in our lives. We will never be happy if we discover that someone we know or can see has more than us.
We, as a society, need to stop putting a monetary value on people – and judging people based on how many possessions they have. Yes, money is important and is needed to survive and do well in life, but there’s also more to life than driving the flashiest car and living in the biggest house. A popular quote I firmly agreed with is ‘No matter how much money you make, our graves will all be the same size’.
We need to find happiness within ourselves. We need to find happiness by making memories and spending time with loved ones. We need to find happiness in things we can’t put a monetary value on. As important as money is, possessions do not define us, and we need to move away from letting them control us. As long as we prioritize possessions I firmly believe we will never be happy as we will constantly compare how much we have or don’t have. If possessions are important to you, then find happiness with the things you do have. Don’t compare and contrast between yourself and others. Be content with what you have, and if you feel you want more, don’t let the desire for that be dictated by the abundance your neighbour might possess.
Find what’s important to you as a person. What makes you happy, and what drives you every day to keep working towards it. Don’t let others affect these things. Everybody is different and so comparing will only ever bring unhappiness and feeling of inadequacy. Either be content with what you have; or want more, but let that be based off your drive and desires – not those around us.