My dad looked at one of my paintings and said ‘the white needs to be whiter’.
I rolled my eyes.
I understood what he meant but I know that it was not possible to make the white any whiter than it already was, but I could make the surrounding area of the white darker.
You see, the brain plays tricks on the mind and assumes that the white is whiter when it has something darker to contrast with.
In many ways you can also play tricks on the mind by doing the same thing with anything. You’ll feel richer when you surround yourself with poverty, and you’ll feel happier when you have gone through a sad spell. You’ll feel that you can conquer anything when you set lower expectations.
Everything is relative.
We seem to have an inbuilt function in our head that tells us that we must strive to be better than we were, we are constantly looking to improve ourselves or at least maintain our standards, and eventually this catches up and makes us feel miserable.
I used to run the Parkrun and I was utterly useless with average times of 40 minutes per race. I tried to encourage others to run with me, or at least run pass me, and they insisted that their running days were over and they couldn’t run as fast as they used to. I promise you that they would have easily lapped me several times over. However they were comparing their times to what they used to do and I had no comparable times to compete with.
I know that as I grow older I will lose a lot more. I will lose my sight, my ability to think as quickly, my ability to be as changeable and adaptable. We will suffer with a lot less and our standard of living is expected to become worse. Fuel prices are going up and the cost of living ever higher with less and less income to support me in my old age.
So it’s important to remember that it’s still all relative and I have to remember that I cannot compare what I will have to what I once had.
My happiness depends on it.