“Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken”, said Oscar Wilde. Truly, in the foolish game of competitions and comparisons that we play, there is too much grief everywhere for absolutely no reason.
We all are unique and it is absolutely foolish to compare ourselves with another just like it is foolish to compare one fruit with another.
In fact, my wise aunt told me once, “My dear, never compare yourself. It makes you either vain or bitter.” It was good advice but, like most good advice, it was easy to say but could not be followed.
I belong to a family where many are musically inclined. I grew up in North India while many of my cousins were in the South and were all either learning vocal music or to play an instrument. Now, I too loved music and always longed to sing, just for the joy of it but as most of my seemed to know a lot more than me, I was extremely insecure about even opening my mouth, especially in social events. On another note, I was pretty envious of their situation, especially in the musical arena. “How lucky they are that they have so many opportunities to learn, how wonderful it is that they attend the concerts of stalwarts,” I used to keep thinking. Apart from music, I used to think they were studying in better schools, had better teachers, in fact better everything. It was much later that I realised everyone has their own journey in life and it is foolish to compare my journey with theirs.
Comparison is general just leaves us feeling like we’re just not measuring up to our own expectations or envious, like my wise aunt said.
In the journey of comparison, we keep feeling we are
Not accomplished enough.
Not attractive enough.
Not disciplined enough.
Not passionate enough.
Not smart enough.
Not wealthy enough.
Not _XXX___ enough
It would indeed help if we realise that
- Comparisons are always unfair.We typically compare the worst we know of ourselves to the best we presume about others.
- Comparisons, by definition, require metrics. Here, we need to know that every good thing cannot be counted (or measured).
- Comparisons rob us of precious time.We each get 86,400 seconds each day. And using even one to compare ourself or our accomplishments to another is an utter waste of time
- Each of us is too unique to compare fairly. Our gifts and talents and successes and contributions and value are entirely unique to us and our purpose in this world. They can never be properly compared to anyone else.
- We have nothing to gain, but a lot to lose.While comparing, we are in danger of losing our pride, our dignity and our passion.
- There is no end to the possible number of comparisons.The habit can never be overcome by attaining success. There will also be something—or someone—else to focus on.
- Comparisons often result in resentment. Comparison results in resentment towards others and then towards ourselves.
If we must compare, let us set the benchmark as our own selves. Like my grandfather taught and sang to us “Day by day in every way, I shall be better and better and better. So help me God, So help me God”.