Our Competitive Society
I recently went to dinner at a friend of the family's home in an upscale neighborhood in Los Angeles, CA. The happily married couple (Jack & Marie) reside in a big beautiful house and have reputable high profile careers. Their daughter attends an ivy league university and their son is a star athlete in high school. They seem to have the type of life that anyone would be envious of. So it surprised me greatly when Marie mentioned another upscale neighborhood nearby with beautiful houses that they would never be able to afford to live in. She said this with a bit of disappointment. I thought to myself, “Do you not see the wonderful home you already live in? Why would you need better? You have it so good.” Ofcourse, the grass is always greener on the other side so they say!
But, you see, this is the problem with our society today. Nothing is ever good enough. We always seem to need bigger and better. We are always competing with each other. Who has the bigger better house?... The better job, better schooling, better significant other, more money, more things, more happiness... We get indoctrinated into this way of thinking through the tv shows we watch, commercials, movies. All this competing to be better than everyone else in life is presented to us on a daily basis. We are really unable to avoid it. We live in a ultra competitive society. But isn't it so obvious that all of this competing is not bringing anyone happiness at all? It's stressful trying to keep up with everyone else. The stress can be so intense it can cause health issues and even disease.
I watched a movie the other night that put things into perspective for me. Sometimes it's good to get a little perspective. The movie is called “First They Killed My Father.” Wow! Talk about a torturous existence! Set in 1975, the film depicts a 7 year old girl who is forced to be trained as a child soldier while her siblings are sent to labor camps during the Communist Khmer Rouge Regime in Cambodia. If you watch this movie and still think your life is bad than you've got some real problems. Even homeless people on the street have it better than what they did to these people in Cambodia.
So yes, I get it though...it's natural to compete. All the insects, animals, species of the world compete to survive. This is natural instinct. Yet we as a society, particularly the United States, have taken competition to a whole new level. Quite a dysfunctional level if you ask me! Whose to say that having billions of dollars, fancy cars, big houses, etc, etc is going to bring you happiness and peace of mind? Yes, ofcourse it's preferable to have what you need and to live comfortably. It's even nicer to have a little more than what you need so you can share it with others (if you are generous). But if you are always focusing on what everyone else has than you will never find true happiness no matter how much money or things you possess. And if you are always listening to what everyone else tells you that you should be doing with your life, that too will bring you stress and unhappiness.
My suggestion...be grateful for what you have now! The grass may seem greener on the other side, but believe me, we all have issues. We all face challenges. Nothing is ever perfect. This society can easily make us feel worthless and not good enough. We have to let this perception go. It is not healthy for our spirit. I personally may not have the most reputable career, or the best credit score, or the nicest home...or really that much money in the bank... but you know what? I wake up everyday...and I am breathing! I have suffered with depression, anxiety and physical health issues for as long as I can remember. I still deal with some of these issues but I've made great progress. I'm at the point now where waking up in the morning feeling like I can breathe is the best feeling in the world to me. If I can do this consecutively on a daily basis than even better! Everything else is just icing on the cake! We take so much for granted. Things could be so much worse. So you know what? Just be grateful for what you have!
Jennie Haiman is a Reiki Master Energy Healer, Co-Founder of Self Saviorz Society California Non-Profit 501(c)(3), Poet, Author and Entertainer with goals to help raise the vibration and consciousness of humanity!