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Posts tagged ‘personal standards’

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.