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Comparing Myself to Others

I’ve spent a good part of my life believing that this is what we do naturally as we maneuver the world and assess our beliefs, skills, talents, etc.  Everything and everyone from professional researchers to schools to religions to media of all kinds have us comparing ourselves to others and leaving us striving or wishing for something outside ourselves.  How does my “education” measure up with others I hold in esteem?  How many times per month do I have sex with my partner and is it “normal?”  When did my child learn to read or live on his own or blah, blah, blah and does it make him smarter or slower or … whatever?  Where do I live and how big is my house and does it put me in the middle class or upper class?  How does my body shape up as a middle aged woman and does it make me better than others or average or worse?  How much time do I give to charity and is it “enough?”  How much money do we make and is it enough for us to live on in our retirement?  What is retirement?  What is aging?  What is life?  Why can’t I just be left alone to think and act for myself, free of the barrage of dictates from others on what is right, normal, average or superior?

I’ve experienced the profound joy and release of letting go of this belief, this action.  I’ve given up mainstream media of all kinds and done away with “experts.”  Seeing myself as a sovereign being, one with maximum freedom to think as I wish, act only according to my internal dictates, has me feeling amazingly …… solid and unobstructed, centered and clear, peaceful and alive.  

All of a sudden it makes complete and total sense.  Afterall, no other life form of any kind in it’s natural state compares itself to another.  Newborns and young children of course never do.  Animals, birds and plants manage to thrive in environments without ever comparing themselves to their fellow animals birds and plants (well, they thrive until we destroy their environments anyway).  How and why did we wind up in such a miserable state of dis-ease that invariably results from our “need” to constantly compare ourselves to others anyway?  Even if we’re not feeling dis-ease, why do we keep allowing ourselves to be bombarded with the comparisons constantly made for us?   And why do we keep perpetuating it?  EEEK!

Most of us seem to agree with the notion that we are here in this lifetime to learn, grow, evolve, love and enjoy.  Can we accomplish all these things if we’re not comparing ourselves to others in the process?  As I allow birds and animals, newborns and young children to be my guides here, I have to say yes, unequivocally.  Is it possible to accomplish great things without the competition for grades, status and external achievement?  I think it’s not only possible but even MORE likely, as the absence of externally motivated pressure to compare and compete allows us much greater freedom to create, invent, love and otherwise follow our inner guidance toward right livelihood, experiment on our own terms and evolve exponentially.

How does this feel to you?  Do you think it’s possible to to understand the world, learn to communicate effectively, do useful/profound/sustainable work, get a “real” education, all without the influence of media, “standards,” competition and externally driven pressure to “succeed?”  I am loving the fantasy.

6 Comments Post a comment
  1. NewAgeGranny #

    I agree. We are so caught up in comparing ourselves with everything and everyone that we forget who we really are. Living our lives thinking we must measure up to the standards of someone else is just dumb. I am 45 and have let my hair go naturally grey – well imagine the comments this has got me. I nearly relented and coloured by hair until I reminded myself of who I really am. Bloody awesome – that’s who I am 🙂

    June 22, 2012
  2. Melissa #

    Oh but where to start… Just reading this piece was anxiety and fear producing. Why is that?

    June 22, 2012
    • I don’t know, why do you think? What fears come up for you?

      June 22, 2012
  3. Sue #

    I feel that a certain amount of comparing ourselves to others is a good thing. I have never felt that what is right for another is right for me. But by comparing, I reaffirm that I am the best I can be and sometimes I find that I can adapt someone elses methods to my own life. I don’t think comparing ourselves to others needs to be in a negative way. We only need to be as good as we can or want to be, not as good as anyone else!

    June 23, 2012
    • I never affirm that I am the best that I can be by comparing myself to another, but by going inward and assessing how I feel about myself: my thoughts and actions. To me, looking to a comparison of another to gauge yourself is exactly what’s wrong. Such comparisons lead us to falsities on all counts: whether we stroke ourselves because we think we’re better or find fault because we think we’re less than, it matters not because none of it is real. Learning from others is completely different however and I am doing that all the time, not to be like someone else per se but because I feel enlightened by what they have taught me through their words and actions.

      June 23, 2012
      • Sue #

        I agree with you wholeheartedly. Perhaps I am misinterperting the word comparison because it is foreign to me. I guess comparison means to grade yourself based on someone elses life. That is not a feeling I have ever experienced. I share my life with someone else or they share with me but it does not make me feel less or more in anyway. Maybe I was using the word comparison instead of sharing. Maybe I “compare” or “share” my life with others in order to go inside myself, just as I would read a self-help book and take what I need from it? I have found in my life that I misinterpert words based on my experience I need to learn to adhere to the real meaning, ha.

        June 24, 2012

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