The window of our neighbor is the door through which happiness exits our lives. When we look through the lens of comparison, we find our unhappiness sitting beside and drooling over the happiness of our neighbors. Social beings are like voyeurs that get emotionally stimulated by looking at the lifestyles of others. Some people try to find happiness by mining in the lives of others to extract happiness from their lifestyles. While others allow the laughter of their neighbor to awaken their unhappiness from its sleep. But not every laugh is the bellowing of joy; sometimes the laughter that we envy in the lives of others is their way of distracting us from their hidden pain. Comparison is a social art that teaches us how to be unhappy. An art in which we study the emotional features of societal happiness yet have never held up the mirror of life to examine the features of our own happiness. So when happiness knocks at the door of our lives, we’ve failed to recognize it because it doesn’t look like the pseudo-happiness that society advertised. Society treats happiness has an emotional fashion that’s tailor-made to fit all emotional bodies, but our emotional bodies are as diverse as our physical bodies, just as one size of clothing cannot fit all body types, one kind of happiness cannot please all emotional bodies. Yet many of us want to emotionally wear the happiness of celebrities but no one wants to try on their uncelebrated pain.
Comparison imprisons us to the lives of others, causing us to feel out of place in our own lives. Comparison is the designer of lifestyles; the fabric of social life was weaved together by the tread of likeness, and the desires that are framed on our emotional walls are socially aligned with the view of others. We’ve failed to realize that people are exterior designers that decorate the surface of their lives with lies to cause envy to onlooking eyes, so to measure our lives with the lives of others is to measure our lives with well-designed lies. People are like the ocean, the surface of their beauty covers the unbecoming rupture that lies below. The happiness of people is a well that flows to the surface of their lives, but their pain is an underground river that flows in silence, so when mining in the lives of others to find happiness, be careful not to dig too deep. The aroma of others’ happiness often smells sweeter than it tastes.