I’m a comparison shopper. When I want to buy something I like to compare brands, prices, and the available functions offered. After the purchase, it makes me feel good knowing I have the best quality and functionality at a fair price. In this context the practice of comparison makes total sense.
You and I are not “things” however with price tags and available options. Our value is not determined by the number of bells and whistles we have, the amount of attention and visibility we get, or the length of our warranty.
Comparison between yourself and another creates suffering, or at best, a false sense of accomplishment. It discounts your gifts and abilities while elevating the “value” of someone else’s. Conversely it can “convince” you it isn’t necessary to work toward that next goal or improve in areas important to you, when you make your standard something less than your full potential.
Either situation stunts your growth and limits your possibilities in the world.
The reason comparisons don’t work is because each of us are unique in how we see the world and what we can do within it. My value is only determined by me and what I set it at (by the it’s pretty high ;-D), and so is yours.
If I choose to compare myself to someone else, I am measuring against resources I may not have had, attributes that I genetically wasn’t born with, and untold stories/realities of the other person I am not privy to. Do I really want to walk in someone else’s shoes when I have no idea what they really smell like?
Comparing myself with someone else takes the focus off of me…what I am good at, the gifts I can offer, the unique way in which I can do it, and places my attention upon an illusion relative to me. When feelings like envy, jealousy, or self-criticism pop up, how can these feelings possibly help me accomplish my goals and become the man I am intended to be?
Comparison is a self-sabotaging way to proceed in life.
Look, I am as real as the next man. There are things I would like that I don’t have; things I might momentary long for or be envious of. When I catch myself in this place I shift any sense of comparison to gratitude. Grateful for the opportunities someone else has been given to bless the world, which quickly makes me feel grateful for the blessings in my own life. Remembering my blessings encourages me to do better, become better, to live in my full potential as a man on this planet.
What would shifting comparison to gratitude enable you to do?