Wednesday, 7 May 2014

comparison is the thief of joy

It is easy to do. Compare, contrast and come out feeling second best.

We are often not even comparing like with like. If we were scientists, it would be a flawed experiment. Our control sample is not objective in the slightest. We compare our beginnings, or where we are at, with others' middles or ends. We compare our perceived view of the other to our often warped view of ourselves. We compare the results of different genetic gifts or provisions.

And then we feel profoundly disappointed.

Disappointed at a lack, a deficiency. Disappointed in the midst of plenty.

Is this a first world problem? The focus on what we don't have rather than on what we do have. I am speaking more of personal reflection rather than of material possession. But the same questions can be applied.

When we compare ourselves to others, we know exactly what is going on inside ourselves. So we are comparing all the faults and the flaws and the fears and the history we have of ourselves with what we see on the outside of another person. Even with some deeper knowledge of them, we are still, to a certain extent, only seeing what they choose to reveal, or what we choose to see.

The world we live in seems obsessed with output. Our systems of assessment, our economy, our social media. We are judged by what we produce. It is probably difficult to get around this. 

In many ways output is built on shifting sands. There are so many factors connected to successful output which we cannot control; the environment, social trending, teachers, bosses, the weather, the day we had before the day we 'prove' ourselves. But what we can control is our input. We can strive and take hold and hone and listen and respond and learn and grow. And do our best with what we have. 

All of us made it in the race to be here. We won against 40 million to 1.2 billion other sperm who wanted the prize. We deserve our place and we deserve to make our way in the world the best way we can.

There is no merit in comparing and feeling disappointed. There is merit in embracing and appreciating and taking a big deep breath and smiling.

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