It’s a Saturday afternoon, your hair is curled and pinned back, you smell like garden of rosebushes. You feel good. You’re waiting for your friend to catch a bite to eat at a cute, boho cafe right around the corner from your snug studio on the 4th floor where your sister is probably playing the guitar and plastering nail decals on her toes. Nothing is going wrong, you’re in a happy place. You see your friend parking her car near the curb. Wait, you don’t have a car. She walks in wearing a fitted pencil skirt and grey top, you could almost smell the Downy and iron steam. You don’t have an ironing board, it didn’t fit in the closet so you threw it away. Sitting opposite in our booth, we exchange a few words and she then continues to talk about her recent project abroad and the many experiences and perspectives she came across. You stayed home, helped your sister with her music. We all do it or have done it at some point in our lives…
We compare ourselves to others and gauge where we are based on what we observe them to be doing. The thing about comparison is that there is nothing. It does not allow us to grow, experience or look back fondly at. Instead, memories and perspectives are fogged by judgements and misfortunes by the lounging thoughts of, “She has a higher GPA, “He volunteered with one eyed dogs”, “They are better than me ”. How often do we compare ourselves with someone less fortunate than us and consider ourselves blessed? More often, we compare ourselves with someone who we perceive as being, having, or doing more.
But our minds are powerhouses and it’s not as simple as telling someone to ‘just stop comparing yourself to others’. Our minds want to rank and file and organize information. Our mind wants to know where we fit into the scheme of things. So we need to give it something to do.
Think of your mind as your desktop on your computer, the most effective way to organize files is not to simply delete them but rather limit folder creation and organize each file accordingly. So, instead of training it to stop comparing altogether, why not simply redirect the comparison to a past and a present self and keep the comparison clean and collected within?
We are always becoming more. Who you are today is a result of the three bags of chips and no CV covers you decided on, but no seriously we decide and then we decide again, and the direction is always toward expansion. It is our human nature to create.
-What new decisions have you made or what new actions have you taken that have resulted in you moving in a new direction in your life?
-What have you done recently that you never thought you could do?
-How are you doing more of what you said you were going to do towards your own success and betterment?
In other words, how have you continued to become a new and improved version of yourself?
That’s the stuff that counts.