Are we trying to compare with others to find our true self?
According to the estimation of the government, there are approximately 300,000 people being quarantined due to Covid infection or their family members being infected. It is beyond dispute that those who are quarantined need to take good care of themselves by doing health and psychologically beneficial activities during this period. These activities may include physical exercises, meditation, art creation, or virtual social activities. Apart from these activities, some people may find themselves quite lost when they reflected about their current life or the impact of the pandemic to them. They may even ask: “Who am I?”, “What am I doing?”. If they could manage to live a routine life during the quarantine, it may also be a good idea to reflect about oneself for more self-discovery.
Many of us are frequent users of the social media. We regularly post photos or details of our lives that we think may create a positive image of ourselves. In return, we also have an idea of the positive side of our family members or friends by looking at the news feed in the social media. When we find someone having a more luxurious flat than we have as our home, we may feel uncomfortable and think we may need to earn more money to buy a bigger flat. When we find someone posting lots of photos about their social gatherings, we may feel a bit lonely due to our inner comparison that we do not have that many social gatherings. On the contrary, when we find someone boosting their delicious meals in restaurants that we find not very prestigious, we may feel happy inside as we have visited more luxurious restaurants than them. When we find someone showing off their new cars and we know that we have a more expensive one, we may feel proud about our material possession. In this way, we are constantly comparing ourselves with others and trying to find our “self” according to our measurement of how well we are living our lives. We end up in doing similar things that our family members or our friends did as shown in the social media. How many of us chase after things because of others also chasing? Are we doing things according to our self-awareness of our true self?
If we want to reflect on ourselves, we may ask ourselves, “Would we still doing what we are doing if our family members or friends are not doing them?” If we ask ourselves seriously, we may find that we live our lives by chasing what others are doing through our comparison with them. Comparison seems to be the reference point of how we should live our lives. In fact, we are sometimes also comparing with others on our spiritual development, moral standards or altruistic behaviors. However, it is of no use to compare ourselves with others because different people have different family upbringing, different genetic predispositions and different environmental resources. The comparison with others is endless and we will never find our true self by comparing our outer and inner lives with others.
During the pandemic, as we may be quarantined at home or be less occupied for work or study, we may reflect on our habit of comparing with others. We may try to visit social media less and turn our focus on cultivating more self-awareness on ourselves. In fact, cultivating self-awareness is a long journey and we need to do it with patience. If you want to start trying to cultivate more self-awareness, try to settle your mind first by grounding yourself more. You may try to cultivate an observer viewpoint to observe your own inner emotions as the first step. When you try to do this, bringing your awareness to your bodily sensations of whatever you are experiencing. For instance, when you are taking a shower, bringing yor awareness to your bodily sensations of showering. This first important step is to help you to learn to take an observer role to observe yourself. Even when you are experiencing anxiety, fear or anger during the pandemic, you can also cultivate self-awareness by bringing your awareness back to the bodily sensations of these emotions.
In fact, cultivating self awareness involves a lot of hard work to explore our inner self. In this 5th wave of the pandemic, we may try to take the first step and be more connected with our inner self.