Blog, Self Discovery

Fleeting reaction vs deep time emotion

Fleeting reaction versus deep time emotion. 

I’ve noticed something weird over the past few years. As I grow older and settle into myself, finally, I still find myself comparing others’ success to my own, even though underneath I know that really it doesn’t matter. It’s hard to really explain what I mean, but I’m going to give it a go and see if it makes any sense!

Knowing myself has been a hard-fought battle over my thirties, one which I’m happier each day to say that I think I’ve won. I’m more settled, more confident, and more aware of myself now. Looking back over my teens and twenties, where I never knew who I was or where I was going, I can say I feel more solid, more whole somehow. I know my thoughts.

I have a few viewpoints now that run through me, deeply, like a slow flowing river. A core self, an essence of the way I see the world. That in this society, beyond a certain point to cover basic necessities, more money doesn’t make happiness. Increasing hours spent chasing increasing salaries to buy increasingly more ‘stuff’? It means nothing. A step back from reactionary politics, a long view of time and humans and land and life. Choosing where to exist, and how. Slowing down has given me time to look at things in a different way to myself in younger days. But some days, it doesn’t feel like this.

I still feel flashes of jealousy when faced with those who have achieved traditional ‘success’. More money, more property, flashier lifestyles. It’s really strange – I’m happy, settled, and comfortable, but still that fleeting comparison takes me by surprise sometimes. Is it a human reaction, wanting something that is ‘more’ than what I think I have, even though by shifting the value from ‘money’ to ‘time’ means I have way more of it? Am I not as settled as I think I am?

I think it’s a bit of both. Fleeting surface reactions don’t really affect the way I think underneath it all. I have these blips of emotion, of comparison, but I know underneath that I don’t really care. It’s a small jealousy, a knee-jerk reaction that doesn’t reflect how I actually feel. I’ve no idea why these happen, but I think it might be part of the journey of letting go of this old life still. Living within a societal framework that values these things means that everything is geared up towards things like more money and more ‘status’. Comparison is inevitable, at least for me. Within that framework, yes, others have more than me. But within my framework, value is given to other things, levelling the field between those other people and me.

I’m learning to listen to these reactions, to wonder if they signify anything important to me. Most of the time, they don’t. It’s just a small reaction to living in a comparative society. They don’t tend to reflect that core self inside. Like a mountain, or a deep sea, it’s just surface weather.

Slow time versus fast time.

Fleeting reaction versus deep time emotion.

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