Hola! In case you were wondering, I am alive! It feels SO refreshing to blog after exactly one year. I set out to pursue a Medical Writing Course to work on my passion for writing. The result was a writing hiatus on my blog. Irony much? More on what I have been up to the last year on a separate post later on.
Today I thought I would write on something that has been a running theme in my thoughts for the past year – Comparison!
The ‘comparison‘ starts as soon as we are born. We are weighed against our own sibling at the start of life (and life long if you’re not the folk’s favorite child). Then comes school life. Here, instead of one or two siblings, you’re compared to a whole class of 50, if not more. You would think at 18 years old, you’re an adult and it would finally stop. Sorry brother! That’s when it all becomes worse. The real pressure begins, if not already.
Life has been kind to me so far. I have more or less received well for what I have worked for. Straight ‘A’ student all through my undergraduate and masters degrees. Good decent paying job with no student loans and good benefits. Good family, good health, etc etc etc. One would think that I feel no pressure whatsoever. But man if you knew what was running in my head!!!
All through my 20s, it’s been quiet ‘natural’ to compare myself with my classmates, with my colleagues, with friends around, etc. It felt normal to do so. I mean, how else would I know my worth right? If I didn’t know my rank in comparison to another, how would I gauge where I stand in the grander scheme of life. Am I right?
But as I grew mature (I think!), I’ve come to realize that comparison is a vicious circle of dissipation. It has no beginning, it has no end. It is but a relative trap of the mind. And ain’t the mind also a huge sack of perceptions?
“So why do I feel the constant need to keep up with comparison?” – asked my ‘once-in-a-blue-moon’ sensible brain one fine day. Well, it’s been a year and I am still trying to find an answer to it. There has been no million dollar answer that would truly justify the need to compare ourselves with another.
In this process of finding the answer (as I find myself), I have also tried to tone down that voice in my head that would constantly compare. In full disclosure, given up would be a total hype of a word. Toned down is a more apt word, if I must say. It is still a work-in-progress. After all, comparison has been a quality I’ve carried with me for more than two decades. It needs more than just a nudge to kick it out.
I thought I would share some tidbits of learning I have gained through this little experiment of mine.
- I am happier – Enough said!! Theodore Roosevelt right put that ‘Comparison is the thief of joy‘. The days I feel ‘sad’ have been days when I played the comparison game. Turns out I lost by just playing.
- I am kinder – To myself!! It feels liberating to not constantly be behind my true self to be perfect at all times. The net result of being kinder to myself has resulted in me being more forgiving towards others as well. Win-win situation for all I guess.
- I am grittier – The power to pursue my passion and persevere my goals and dreams have been stronger than usual. After all, the negative energy of this comparison thing hasn’t been around to bog me down. Seeing others and what they might have achieved now feels more of an ‘inspiration‘ rather than a ‘comparison‘.
I don’t have a ten step process to help you (or me) to stop this comparison. There’s only one way – to be as self aware as possible of our own thoughts as they seep into our mind and STOP it as soon as we find it comparing notes. There are no shortcuts!!! But apparently, taking the long way or only way, so as to say, seems to clear out obstructions along the path of life.
I shall leave you with this video by Jay Shetty, my ‘online’ motivation Guru and his views on comparison. I would highly recommend it (and all his videos).
If you find yourself embroiled in this comparison game,
what do you do to escape out?