Once, there was a happy little pigeon who lived at the edge of a forest. He spent his days in happiness and was generally satisfied with life. Then, one day he saw a beautiful swan.
“That swan is so white,” he noticed, “and I am more of a dull grey. That swan must be the happiest bird in the world.” He confessed his thoughts to the swan. “Actually,” the swan replied, “I used to think that I was the happiest bird around until I saw a green and yellow parrot. He has two colors where I am just plain white— I think that the parrot must be the happiest bird.”
Hearing that, the pigeon decided to go talk to the parrot. However, what the parrot told him confused him even more. “I lived a very happy life until I saw a peacock. Have you ever seen one up close? The peacock has multiple colors and is truly beautiful,” said the parrot.
In order to see a peacock, the pigeon had to visit a zoo and indeed, hundreds of people had gathered to see the peacock’s colorful feathers. After the people had left, the little pigeon approached the peacock.
“Dear peacock,” the pigeon said, bowing respectfully, “You are so beautiful. Everyday thousands of people come to see you. When people see me, they immediately shoo me away. Surely you must be the happiest bird on the planet?”
The peacock replied, “I always thought that I was the most beautiful and happiest bird on the planet because people come from all over to see me. But because of my beauty, I am trapped in a display. I’ve watched the world around me and over the years, I have come to realize that the pigeon is the only bird allowed to fly free. Quite honestly, I envy you and think you must have the happiest life.”
Imagine the shock that the pigeon felt at that statement! We are not unlike the pigeon, however. We make unnecessary comparisons with others, overlooking our innate gifts. We let ourselves be saddened by what we don’t have, and it can lead to a vicious cycle of unhappiness.
There will always be someone who will have more or less than you; that is part of the hierarchy of blessings. Learn to be happy in what you have instead of looking at what you don’t have. The person who is satisfied with their own gifts is the happiest person in the world.