A casual 2 A.M. crisis about comparison
Walking around the neighborhood with my mother is almost like giving validation to random figures. Each house, each dog on the street and each urban element has its own vibrant specific story, according to my mom. As soon as we step foot outside our home, my mother and I become the directors, painters and writers of other individuals' ordinary lives.
It’s scary to realize how much those made-up stories during a warm Saturday morning walk make us feel apart from our own lives.
We start to discern that maybe we are not as mysterious as the German lady from block three down the street who loves bossa nova music. We start noticing that we are not as prodigious as the Baker's son— a 22-year-old CEO of a multinational company.
The uncanny thing about it is that we do know this isn’t even the reality for those people. I understand this is just a mechanism that my mother and I use to ignore our tedious lives. But here’s the question: Why “tedious lives?”
We, including you, tend to unconsciously believe in this fairytale—we are too normal, while they are too interesting.
This perception, which is only real in our manipulative brains, becomes more vivid and threatening once we focus on giving them undeserved attention.
Our inclination to be obsessed with other people’s lives has been naturally developed. However, this innate desire to imagine the exotic in the middle of standards has always intrigued me.
Why must other people's lives be more fun to observe?
Why does everything that relates to ourselves quickly become colorless, lifeless and soulless?
Why do those adjectives have to end with the suffix -less?
This 2 a.m. crisis is not only mine. Yes, we have an explanation for this “neighbor's grass is greener” phenomenon.
According to psychologist Leon Festinger, around 10% of human thoughts are composed of comparisons—often regarded as ego competitions.
This social comparison theory is, therefore, the conception by which we evaluate our worth and dignity based on how they stack up against others. Human beings measure themselves by using strangers' rulers.
More recent studies connected to this theory revealed some serious symptoms that are the most automatic results of the comparison. Deep dissatisfaction, guilt, remorse and engaging in destructive behaviors like lying or disordered eating are just some of those symptoms.
Now, you see how dangerous the warm Saturday walks with my mom are.
Now, you understand how much sabotage comes from our vulnerable minds.
Indeed, it’s devastating to see how our current lives have become competitive performances. We are constantly attentive to know who is the next star that is going to be in the spotlight of the masses, a potential source of parameters.
I am aware of the challenge that is to stop looking at other people's scenarios. But the issue itself is not to avoid appreciation but obsession.
I find it artistic and poetic to see life as a film composed of different main characters—they have different names, ages and accomplishments, but all of them are the protagonists of their own stories.
Maybe this is all about the unattached stories that have their narrative; they don’t need to be repeated by others; they have their sound; they don’t need echoes to be heard.