It is funny how quickly people (including myself) can forget that saying…
“Comparison is the thief of joy.”
Just today, I have had several conversations in which clients were grappling with this… “Everytime I see a communication from this person I can’t help but compare myself to where they are,” or “Other people my age are so much further along than I am.”
Further along to where?
Is there some master destination to which we are all heading? Other than the grave, I don’t think so! So why do we get our underwear all in a bunch about where someone else is that is not where we are?
Perhaps it’s cutural and systematic – most things can be tied back to our education system in some way… We were taught that there is a “right” answer, the one the all-knowing teacher is looking for (I can say this, I’ve been a teacher ), and whoever get’s the most right answers is ahead of the game. They might get picked on, but at a core level our society rewards getting further, faster.
Why, at the expense of our joy, contentment, peace, and fulfillment, would we insist on keeping this story, this race to an invisible finish line alive?
Because we believe we can win. That we can possibly be the one to come out on top, and we’re willing to sacrifice anything for that possibility. Every time we make a choice to compare ourselves to others, we reinforce this competitive energy, and we give our joy away. We look around to decide (judge) whether we’re good enough yet. Whether people will like us yet. Whether we’re impressive yet. And we lose the present moment in comparison. We give away our joy. Every time. Is it worth it, for the potential to be the “best” (smartest, most generous, richest, most dominant or important), when we’re all heading to the same place anyway? My clients experience feeling stressed, anxious, even sick as think about trying to play catch up… there are many serious costs.
A different energy?
How about a little more love, acceptance (of yourself first!) cooperation, joy, fun and play in the world? Will you try it on? Simply practice catching yourself in that moment of comparison and instead send love – to your self, and the person to whom your comparing yourself. Honor and respect them for where they are, while knowing you are on your own path, in the exact right place. Refuse to participate in conversations that involve comparison-type thinking. Use your own words to create a space acceptance, and help yourself and others to reclaim joy.
Will you join me in busting these dangerous thieves?