There is no comparison
That’s what my yoga instructor used to say and probably still does. It wasn’t so much an observation as it was a direction. Don’t compare yourself. Not to anyone else, not to anything that you are not. Be what you are right now. Wherever you are is perfect for getting to where you want to be. This is not a competition. Life is not a competition.
I’ve been thinking about this because I hear criticism. I hear it directed at people around me and at me. I hear it in my own head directed at myself and others. When it is negative (and that is what I’m talking about here), it highlights the insecurities. Think about it. It’s true.
A while back I started noticing whenever I criticized myself. It didn’t stop me from doing it but it really made me think, “Wow, so that’s what I’m worried about”. Things like how annoying I was, what a burden I was, how stupid I must be, how less talented, how less attractive..and on and on and on. Then I realized, I’m the one making the list and it’s all crap. You could say that it’s society’s list but that’s not accurate at all. So many different people with different preferences. Society’s list is way too complicated. Nope. Everyone has their own list. And, if I can’t be at the top of everyone’s list I better be at the top of my own. So, Laura, let go of the competition.
I know what some of you must be thinking. What’s wrong with competition? Nothing’s wrong with some competition. Somebody has to win, right? Sure, if you’re playing a game. But, even so, let’s talk about it because their are different way to be competitive. There is the competitive person that is driven by insecurity: ‘I’m not good enough, I must be better than him/her/he/she/it’. And, the competitive person driven by inspiration: ‘I want to do this, I can do this and I will do this’.
I was watching Tiger Woods in the Master’s and thinking about this. (Not a golf fan but my husband is) We were talking about how ‘competitive’ he is. And, maybe so but I don’t think he’s driven by comparing himself to others. To me, he seems inspired. Like someone who does it for the love of doing it and for his own desire to set a goal and achieve it. He doesn’t seem like an “I’m better than you” kind of guy. Maybe he is. I don’t know. But, at least it got me thinking.
You may like the ‘comparing yourself with others’ kind of competition. You may say it’s the kind of competition that really pushes us ahead. Well, of course it does. It pushes us ahead but it also pushes us away… from each other. Is that the best way? And, if you start with ideas that you aren’t good enough, when will you ever be good enough? There will always be someone better. And, even if it makes you “better” in a completely relative sort of way, does it make you any happier? I can’t see how. Look at what happens when we do!
Back to the classic standby example: Look at that skinny model. I feel fat. Do I look fat? I think I’m fat. Look at that girl! She is so fat! At least I’m not that fat.
Hey, wake up!!! Who cares? You just reduced another human being to a number on a scale or some random dress size.
And that’s just one example. We all have our insecurities. We’re not successful enough, strong enough, holy enough, right enough, smart enough, talented enough, pretty/handsome …etc., etc.
And, some of us aren’t even aware of our insecurities. We find ourselves at odds with other people and wonder why. We criticize someone else and don’t realize our spiritual fly is open. Psst….your insecurity is showing. I mean, why does someone else have to be smarter, better or prettier by our standards? They don’t. They are who they are. I’ve come to realize that when I have an issue with someone else, it’s my issue. It’s like that saying, “Point a finger at someone and you have three pointing back at you.” And, if we are only seeing people by comparison, are we really seeing them at all? I don’t think so.
Comparison …fear that we aren’t good enough. I think it might be there at the root of all hate, of all war, of all evil, of any separation between us and our fellow man, of any separation between us and who we each may call God. If I’m not good enough, there’s no way I’m going to let you be good enough.
But, I don’t think it has to be like that. You can let go of the kind of competition that places you at odds with and separates you from others. I won’t say that I have it down perfectly and that I don’t continue to criticize or compare. I’m not there yet. But, when I catch myself and let it go, I feel better. That’s enough of an incentive to try because the result is wanting to do things instead of feeling like I have to do them and feeling more like the people and things in my life fuel instead of drain me. I let myself off the hook and I feel generous enough to let others off the hook as well. Freedom. Imagine peace, imagine happiness, imagine more love. There is no comparison.
“My friends, forgive me, if I were at peace with myself I would not be at war with you” – Me