The “COMPARISONS” Lesson

Why do we always compare ourselves to others around us? What do we gain when we compare? It is a natural thing to do – to compare.  We do it intentionally at times and other times unintentionally.

Usually, we tend to compare our looks, our status, our materials, our state of being, and lastly we compare our behaviours.  I say lastly because it is usually the least of our worries.  We tend to care more about the outer image than the inner one. That is just an observation I have made in my life experiences so far.  I did notice however that with maturity, one compares a little less and when a comparison is made, more often than none, it is to improve oneself, not just to feel the difference.

And this is the key here – ‘difference’.  We are all different, no one is the same in any way, even if you are from the same family, same culture, same religion.  Even twins are different.  They may have lots in common and lots of similarities, but they will still be different in some way or another. And who is to say that being different is a bad thing. Why do we all feel the need to be similar to one another?  What is so wrong in being different?

We are different by the way we look, we come in different colours.  What makes a person with a bright complexion more attractive than a darker one? Who decided that? And on what basis? What makes a person that is more fit than the other more beautiful or more desirable than the one that is not? It is all about personal perceptions. And the domino effect starts from one person’s point of view to becoming the new norm according to the society we live in today.  That is how it all starts.

How come we have reached to the level of shallowness that we judge beauty by the shape of our waists or the size of our ‘chests’. I refer to chests in order to have men and women in the same category.  This is not just about women, it is also about men.  Both genders compare themselves to those in their same gender. There is a need to be better than the other always. So at some point, after the stage of comparison is over, there comes a stage of competition, where everyone is trying to look the best, be the best, feel the best.  No one is realizing that at the end, this is all an illusion.  Who cares what you look like? What matters is how you treat people around you, the good that you do while you have a chance in life, the lives you make a difference in, the legacy you leave behind when your time is done on earth.  Does anyone think of this? I mean really .. does anyone stop and think about how silly they are being? We focus on fashion so much and we judge others by the way they are dressed, or the right term to use these days is: “Who are you wearing?” … What the hell? It has come down to wearing a name of someone and that is how we compare ourselves? Are you kidding me? Who cares the name on the label of the clothes you are wearing? Seriously… does that make us better in any way? does it make us kinder? more generous? more caring? more etc – you name it. I really don’t get how people think these days.  Things that they are so occupied with and it seems like the world would end if they are not where they want to be or have what they want to have.

The latest catastrophic way of comparisons between people these days is electronics.  Oh My God!! Lord behold, you do not own an Iphone or Samsung or Blackberry or Ipad … the list goes on … Everyone is comparing you to themselves by the equipment you choose to use for communication with others.  I feel sorry for you if you still have a Nokia phone.. I can just imagine the looks you are getting from those around you. Unbelievable .. And of course, we still have the most common comparisons of all time – the car you drive, that is if you even have one to begin with.  Then you have the house you live in, not only are you compared with the size of the house and the way it looks from outside and inside and the way you decorate it, you also have the area you live in.  People now have gone beyond comparison and you are judged by your address. That is right ladies and gentleman. The place you live in, the area you are a part of, the size of your house, possibly even the colour of the stones on the outside are all points of comparison with those living around us.

Based on all these things and much more we are judged daily.  Our looks, the way we dress, the mobile phone or PDA we carry for our business or personal use, the vehicle we drive, the place we live in, the university degree we have, the job we do, how much money we earn and so many other points I will not get into now – these are all the superficial and shallow things that we humans have consumed all our time with.  This is what we compare .. sad isn’t it?

How come we do not pay attention to the wise ones? the kind ones? the loving ones? the giving ones? how come we do not feel the need to be like those people? The ones that lead by example. The ones that show compassion to the poor, the ones that make a difference in the world, the ones that influence the ones around them in a positive way, the ones that act more than they talk. Why we are all so focused on things that would never be important on our judgement day?

Let me tell you why I think people are so consumed with these superficial things. Why even within families, jealousy and envy is the common language.  Everyone is fake.  They smile in your face then stab you in the back.  It is the greed that people is so consumed by. It is because we all have this need to be the best, to be better than the other person.  We want to stand out, we want to be praised, we get the satisfaction of knowing that others wish they can be like us.  People will turn to you for help if you are well capable and that gives you power. You feel superior, you feel powerful, you feel you have won something – what I don’t know – but you feel that you have conquered something, you feel pride, you are the king or queen for that matter … you have a big EGO.  There it is – there is the answer to all of this ‘Ego’. The Ego that is in each and every one of us, makes us do these things, makes us strive to succeed and be the best we can be, have the best things and live the best life.  And as I say this, there really is nothing wrong with succeeding, being, having and living a really good fulfilling life.  Just do it humbly, do it without showing it off and making others around you feel that they are less than you.  Do it and help others make their dreams come true at the same time.  There is nothing there for us to win at the end of this road … there is no prize for the best of everything, because it doesn’t exist.  We are who we are, we have what we have, we live how we live – all that is for today – and today only. Tomorrow is unknown, tomorrow you do not have control over because you may not be who you were yesterday, or have what you had, or live the way you lived.  Be thankful and grateful for all that you have in life today, if more comes your way, then it is a blessing indeed. Strive to be the best you can be so that you can give back one day to those who need it – not so that you can sit at the throne and have the utmost power. That place is for the one and only ‘God Almighty’.

I won’t deny that I too fall into that trap sometimes – maybe I justify it to myself or maybe I just don’t abuse it like some people do.  Yes I do have some of the material things I mentioned earlier, but I do not compare myself to anyone in any way and I do not feel envy or jealous if someone else has something nicer or more expensive than I do.  I am grateful for all that I have, for what I have accomplished, for the person that I am today, for the person that I look like, for the heart that I have; with which I give back love to the world. I do not want to be the best I can be so that I can brag about it. I want to be the best I can be so that I can prove to myself that it pays to persist. I want to be able to teach my lessons along the way to success. I want to be able to compare myself to myself; where I once was, and where I am now – so that I can see that I do progress, I do learn, I do have the strength and will to go on when obstacles come my way. Through it all, I love everyone around me equally – no matter the colour, the race, the religion, the status. This is the lesson I learned about comparisons and I was hoping to share it with you so you can open your eyes and see the world around us, if you haven’t already. Thanks again for listening.

“The surest route to breeding jealousy is to compare. Since jealousy comes from feeling less than another, comparisons only fan the fires.” ~ Dorothy Corkville Briggs.

“Don’t always be appraising yourself, wondering if you are better or worse than other writers. “I will not Reason and Compare,” said Blake; “my business is to Create.” Besides, since you are like no other being ever created since the beginning of Time, you are incomparable. ”  ~ Brenda Ueland

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