Reflections

12

October

2018

12th October 2018

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We will never be fully content and joyful until we stop comparing ourselves to others. So how do we stop this comparison treadwheel we are on?

We have spent the last couple weeks looking at the acronym SAIL which is being used to this year to remind our staff and students of actions we should be taking to encourage and enhance the community of Dalat. The first letter, S, stands for “Stop the Complaining”. The second letter, A, stands for “Assume the Best”. The third letter, I, which is the one we are focusing on this week, stands for “Ignore the Comparisons.”

Teddy Roosevelt, former U.S. president, made the wise observation “that comparison is the thief of joy.” I am sure we have all experienced this at one point in our lives. We are happy with something, but then we look around and compare it to something or someone else, the joy dissipates. How often have we been content in a situation only to lose that contentment because we begin to make comparisons with others? It can be about so many different aspects of our lives – wealth, career success, social status, body image, house and possessions, parenting ability, godliness, intelligence, abilities – just about anything in life.

Unfortunately this is happening so much more in today’s world. The advertising industry feeds on this human characteristic and uses it to amplify our fears and steal our joy to sell more products. Add to that social media, which has made comparisons a way of life and constant part of our daily life, and it is no wonder that anxiety, stress, and depression are at all-time high for our teenagers.

Ultimately comparisons are destructive to us and those around us in numerous ways. We will never be fully content and joyful until we stop comparing ourselves to others. So how do we stop this comparison treadwheel we are on?

  • An important step in today’s world is to control your social media diet. It is simply a fact that the less time you spend on social media the happier you are.
  • Stop comparing your weaknesses to other’s people’s strengths. The ironic thing is that they are comparing their weaknesses to your strengths and both of you are unhappy and discouraged.
  • Develop the habit of gratitude in your life. It is something that can be developed and become a habit in your life. Being grateful for what you have and who you are is the perfect antidote to the destructive trap of comparison.

As with many other aspects of life we have studied together, the general default setting is for us to actively and regularly play the comparison game. If we are going to truly be content and experience joy in our lives, we simply need to stop playing the game. Take your ball and walk away, and as you do, a smile will spread across your face.

Written by Karl Steinkamp

Karl Steinkamp is passionate about Dalat International School and training up young people. Karl was a student at Dalat and returned with a degree in education as a student teacher, high school principal, and now Head of School since 2006.
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Recent Reflection Articles

Mentoring

I greatly enjoy putting away my computer and to-do list and spending 45 minutes talking with one of our students. I believe that this is one of the most valuable things I do…

Don’t Drink the Bleach

Fake news has become a part of modern day life…here are some of the fake news stories about the virus that have circulated to millions in the last couple of weeks.

Well, I Heard…

People are encouraged not to gossip or spread stories about others because they can be destructive in many ways, yet rumors abound even in the best of times.

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