We live in a world of comparisons, and it’s not just about Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, or the celebrity culture propagated by US magazine and reality TV.
By now most of us know that most of life’s unhappiness is a result of comparing ourselves to others and not feeling like we measure up. In many ways, our society has evolved into a culture of comparison.
Here’s why. Our economy is powered by consumer spending, making up almost 70% of the U.S. GDP. Consumer spending is activated by advertising, and advertising is about creating a gap between what you have and what you “need.” In essence, it’s about creating dissatisfaction, about highlighting the gap between who you are, what you have, and who you COULD be and what you SHOULD have.
It’s worth remembering that the gap between what we have and could have is a bottomless pit that can never be filled.
A popular bumper sticker in the 1980s was, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” While that overt era of “greed is good” is over, the underlying pull of consumption is not.
In this season of “giving,” stop for a moment and think about the gap. Is what you’re giving to friends and loved ones closing their gap or just adding to the pile of stuff?
The good news is that what we all have to give, and what we all need is perfectly aligned: love, a kind word, a smile, a helping hand, forgiveness, grace, respect, patience. And the cost? Priceless.
Be mindful of the gap in our lives. This season, as you give and receive, take a moment and remember what we all need, and what we all have to give.
Have a wonderful holiday. Enjoy the giving, the receiving, and the joy that both can bring.