What’s the point of comparisons? I want to know how they help in any situation. Please, really think about it, and work out if any comparison ever makes you feel better. I believe that the best that you can hope for when checking where you stand against anyone else is a, ‘well that’s alright then, I suppose.’
When you’re a child you grow up completely engulfed in a system of ranking and endless comparison. Does it particularly do you any good? It helps those around you to pigeon hole your ability or performance, but it doesn’t make you feel any better. And what if you’re one of these people that are so externally focussed, that you can’t possibly motivate yourself without the thought of beating someone else, then are you truly happy with comparison either. You would achieve things because of the motivation, but you wouldn’t be happy doing it. You are constantly being motivated by getting away from the thought of losing, not the more healthy option of being motivated by being the absolute best you can possibly be, and therefore achieving the same goals.
Comparison actually raises its head much earlier in your life. As soon as you pop out you are being compared to average weight tables, average height tables etc. This tells your paranoid, caring parents that you are either under the average, over the average, or average. Whoopy-doo. What’s the point in knowing this. I have more experience than most in conversations with doctors about these tables, and every chat boils down to the question, ‘so what does this mean?’ The answer to which is usually, ‘well, they seem pretty healthy, so I don’t think you should worry for now.’ THEN WHAT’S THE POINT. And when should I worry? When my child is not eating, if so, I’d probably notice that without the help of a table.
If you didn’t have a problem then as a parent you could say to yourself, ‘at least little Tommy is average.’ Is this the belief that you want to install about your newborn son? What about if they were overweight, does this mean that you have to worry about your newborn baby eating too much? Maybe I have completely missed the point but, is it not more important to listen to your child’s natural need for food and nurture them accordingly. Guess what? Some people are bigger than other people.
All the comparison does is make the parent install some slight anxiety which if allowed to grow will eventually rub off on the kid. Do you want your child to be average height and weight, as if you were buying a nice family car, or do you want your child to be happy and confident being who they are?
The tables through out life are just analysts following their natural desire to rank things. The tables are marginally interesting when looking across a population and retrospectively understanding behaviours of groups, but they should never be used to then influence the behaviour.
It gets even worse when you’re an adult. So you compare yourself to people around you. When does this ever make you happy? So in your perception your ahead of them, does this make you feel better about yourself. I doubt it. If you think you’re behind them then this certainly doesn’t make you feel any better. So once again the best you can hope for is that you’re exactly the same. Why does any of this matter? Comparisons just lead to judging others, and this doesn’t lead to anything good either. We never know all of the resources that a person has put in to achieving a certain result, so we make the assumption that we all start from exactly the same point, and this is never true.
What if instead of constantly needing some external reassurance from some unknown source that you’re doing okay, you start listening to your own mind instead. You know if you’re doing a good job or not. You know if you’re being the best that you can be. And if you can do more then let that be the reason that you push it a bit further. This type of motivation has no limits, it does not depend on things out of your control, it is about you being alive rather than this weirdly installed belief that just
being above average is ok, and if you’re not then it’s bad.
Frankly, it makes no difference if you’re below, above, or right in the bloody middle of everything. What’s important is that you’re happy, you’re healthy, and that the people around you are the same.
If you were to truly enjoy a wonderful work of art, really appreciating the aesthetic beauty of it, then put it next to another work of art and compare the two, would that diminish your appreciation of the first a little. Yep.
We only have so long on this planet, so if you spend most of it trying to be something that you’re not then you’re not going to make the most of it. That’s just common sense. So, please, forget looking over the fence, and enjoy the grass in your own garden, even if it is a little bit bald in some places and not quite as green.