The Negative Power of Comparison

Unbalanced Scale - Apples to Oranges

       There you are…in your new dress.  Or your new car. Or your new hat.  Or your new whatever. And you are feeling good.  And I mean REALLY good. You feel confident. You feel smart.  You may even feel sexy. And you’re owning it, 200% percent. Until…

       …that lady walks up in HER new dress, which is nicer than yours (or so you think.)  Or that guy pulls up in HIS new car, which is better than yours (or so you think). Or that kid rolls up with HIS new hat, which is way cooler than yours (or so you think.)

       We live in a society where we are constantly comparing ourselves to others.  We even have a name for it that you may have heard: keeping up with the Jones.   What this means is that we look at our “friends” the Jones and are constantly trying to obtain what they have or maybe even better.   And the Jones are looking at their “friends” and are constantly trying to obtain what THEY have or maybe even better. But here’s the problem. Everybody’s journey in life is unique and is designed specifically for him/her.

       Each one is mutually exclusive.  EVERY.  SINGLE. JOURNEY.  EVERY. SINGLE. LIFE.  EVERY. SINGLE. PATH.

       Why do we do this to ourselves?  Why do we compare ourselves to others?  Why do we stalk people, both friends and enemies, on social media to see what they’ve got going on?  Why do we pay close attention to our coworker’s new bag or our neighbor’s new car?

       There seems to be two reasons why people do this.  First, this can be a way to feel better about ourselves (“well my vacation was WAY better than his” ☺”) which is pretty crappy.  BUT it can also be a way to feel worse about ourselves (“well his vacation was WAY better than mine ☹” ). This is also pretty crappy.  So really, comparing ourselves, regardless of the reason, leaves us feeling, well, pretty crappy.

       What’s important to remember is that your path is yours.  Your challenges are yours. Your successes are yours. And they are totally, completely, and forever independent of anyone else.  And without these specific events in our lives, we would not learn the lessons we are meant to learn.

       It’s also important to remember that everyone is doing the same thing.  Everyone is comparing themselves to someone else. So that lady that walked up in HER new dress thinks that YOUR new dress is nicer than hers.  And that guy that pulls up in HIS new car thinks that YOUR new car is better than his. And that kid that rolls up with HIS new hat thinks YOUR new hat is way cooler than his.  

       All of this comparison stuff is really just an opportunity for kindness to ourselves and to others.  Every time you compare yourself to your coworker, take a moment to think about how she is likely doing the SAME THING.  Think about how much it sucks when you do it and think about how much it sucks for her when she’s doing it.

       Even though our worlds are totally independent from one another and your world revolves around you and my world revolves around me, our worlds are intersecting constantly.  See, we are really all in this together. Perhaps if we start showing kindness and compassion towards ourselves and toward others, we would all feel a little bit better.

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