Wednesday, March 9, 2011

By Comparison

A friend and I had a recent conversation about comparing ourselves to others. Doesn’t matter to whom, just that we have these tendencies. We all—every one of us—do it, whether we mean to or not.

We compare ourselves as wives, as mothers, as daughters, as housekeepers, as beauty queens, as authors (yeah, even if you aren’t one), as scholars, as… everything. It’s so easy to look at those around us and see their strengths as our faults. Or if not faults, at least something different than what they really are.

That person is thinner than me.
That one is more beautiful.
That person is stronger, is more fit.
That person is smarter.
That person must be better at ____ because they are on the path to (or have already found) success.
On my best day, I couldn’t even compare to____.

Why do we do this to ourselves? Life is about progress, about moving forward and growing as a person with each new day. There are no two people on this whole entire planet who have the exact same lives or circumstances. Think about it. There are billions of people on earth. And no one—NO ONE—is the same as anyone else. So why do we torture ourselves with comparisons?

I could look at the career paths of 500 different authors, and they are all different. Does that mean I’m not as good an author as them? Or that I should try to be like them? Or that I should want to? No, it does not. What it means (at least to me) is that each of them had the determination, the strength, the timing, the work, the…whatever else was necessary, to move forward on their path.

And guess what? I have that too. The difference is that I am me, and they are them, and we will never, ever be the same. And that’s how it should be.

Success isn’t just a destination, it’s a journey, an individual one. When and how and where we finally reach our final goal may be a complete mystery, but that’s the beauty of it. Don’t you think? A gift we an anticipate, a final outcome we will be individually proud of because no one knows more than us just what it took to get to that point.

And that, my friends, will make it all the more sweet. Don’t you think?


Angie said...

Thanks, Nichole. Those are important thoughts. I hate comparisons to others. I hate when others compare themselves to me, because they don't even know the real me in most cases.

Nisa said...

Awesome post! I know I do this far too often. Today even. :S

Great point, Angie. When people learn I'm living in the Bahamas, they often say something like that; they wish they were me. That always makes me feel so bad. If only they knew the truth. Life is hard no matter where you live, what you do etc... It's about how you react to those things.

That in mind, how do I stop comparing myself to others? lol!

Bethany Mason said...

As always you seem to have hit the nail on the head. I totally agree with you but it never hurts to be reminded.