There should be a warning label that comes with the habit of comparison and that label should read: Comparing may lead to soul corrosion.
Comparing is something we’re encouraged to do. It allows us to make “smart” consumer decisions, figure out what we do and don’t like, and (when done objectively) discover how other people are handling many of the same life situations we’re facing. The dark side of comparison is that many times we can’t stop doing it; we allow our habit of comparing ourselves, our businesses, our “stuff,” in essence – our worth – to others and that leads to suffering. Sometimes we allow comparison to be the final judge and jury on whether we’re “good enough,” “smart enough,” whatever “enough” and in the process we become blind to our own gifts, talents, and innate value as an individual.
When used in a healthy way, comparison helps us make positive, life affirming decisions. It can help us discover new ways of thinking and broaden our awareness. It can keep us safe from harm and enable us to make choices that benefit others as well as ourselves. Healthy comparison allows us to learn and explore. Unhealthy comparison demands that we judge and condemn.
You’ll know when you’ve crossed over to the unhealthy side of comparison by how you feel. When you compare parts of yourself – your body, your business, your stuff – to someone else and find yourself lacking it’s as though the other person has something shiny, and what you have – and what you are – is dull, flat, and doesn’t measure up. Instead of looking at how you are shiny, you chase; you spend precious time and energy trying to emulate what the other person has, whether that be a shinier prettier body, a nicer house, a more “successful” business. You’re convinced if you can just get yourself to that new shiny state, you’ll feel better.
The sad fact is, you won’t.
The sad fact is that constant comparing and chasing are signs that you are corroding from the inside out; you are internally judging and condemning yourself instead of embracing and celebrating the fact that you are already shiny and your self -worth and value is always determined by you. By rejecting your own shiny self and degrading your own worth you will rust, crumble, and ultimately suffer. The great thing is, you don’t have to suffer at all if you just remember this:
Comparing any aspect of your life to another person’s is a choice
that should be made consciously.
Comparison is a choice. It’s a choice you make, many times even without knowing it, and once you come to view it as a choice, you get to decide how to use healthy comparison to make your life full of learning and discovery while rejecting thoughts of judgement and condemnation.
So the next time you start to feel the urge to chase after something shiny, stop instead and ask how you can celebrate the beacon of light that is you and shine that light into the world proudly for all to see.