We all do this.
We compare our insides to other people’s outsides. When we get sucked into it and believe the idea that we are not doing enough or aren’t this and that enough, we lose our power. We forget who we are as a whole person. We focus on where we are falling short and compare that to other people’s strengths. We may inevitably find ourselves in a battle between our preferred self -that is lovable and our perceived self -that needs to work hard to receive love and approval – including our own. No one comes out alive out of that war, at least not without deep self-inflicted scars.
We compare, instead of observing and appreciating, because our sense of self is tied to societal expectations and we want to find out how we measure up. This, I believe, is an easy trap to fall into, especially when we are still in the process of finding out who we are. We were taught to find motivation and even inspiration by looking at what others are doing and that has its use in the right context. However, when we don’t test the validity of this approach, growth by comparison strategy can become a habit that could take us down the rugged old path of chronic criticism and rejection of who we are.
Why do you think there is so much variety on this planet? Think about it: There are over 20,000 kinds of butterflies on planet Earth.
Do you think that divine intelligence could not have stopped at one and said, “Here’s a butterfly. That’s enough”?
I mean, who needs 20,000 kinds of butterflies?! I consider myself fortunate on days that I get to see one. But that’s not the point, is it?
We are not here to be or live like other people. We are here to discover our gifts, turn our bleeding wounds into healing wells and have experiences that bring us closer to a sense of oneness. If we were supposed to be like other people, I doubt that we would have such unique faces, voices and fingerprints. It would defeat the purpose.
How do we get out of this cycle of comparing and losing? By refusing to compare ourselves to others. By getting to know ourselves and creating our own purposeful path.
Here is why comparison is an outdated strategy for personal happiness:
The naked truth is, everybody has weaknesses and strengths.
When we compare with an agenda to defeat ourselves, we lose sight of our own strengths and their weaknesses. We lose sight of the whole picture. In the end, when we compare, we choose to shut out a part of reality and limit our own experience of life.
Think about the opposite. What happens when we compare and we win? Maybe the cocktail waitress really has fatter thighs than I do, maybe I scored better on my SATs than my cousin who is a mime artist in the streets of New York. So what? Where does that take me?
The danger of winning the comparison game is that we create distance, an intrinsic separation, between us and them.
Our comparison strategy tricks us into believing in a world that is based on winning and losing. The enemy and I. Unfortunately, this very world operates on beliefs such as, “Someone has to lose for me to win”, “It’s a god-eat-dog world out there”, or “People who are x,y,z (fat, poor, short, stinky, etc) are less than me, therefore they don’t deserve my love and respect”.
These hidden beliefs effect our day-to-day decisions that have a huge impact on the quality of our relationships- including the one we have with ourselves. When our subconscious is full of these type of beliefs, we can’t be happy for other people and withhold our light and power for fear of it attracting competitive energy towards us. In my opinion, they feed the wrong side of the happiness equation both for us and for the collective we live in. Every behavior we engage in hides an iceberg full of unquestioned assumptions, expectations and limitations behind it. What we think, we do.
After all is said, thought and done, and the lights are out, we all have the same questions in front of us:
“What is my life purpose? What am I here to do/be?”. We all write our own answers. We co-create the movie of our life: the life that is the answer to that question.