Posted on: Thursday, May 8th, 2014
Here are three: comparison, criticism and competition.
It’s not so bad that we compare with each other. We are trained from birth to do so, “he walked at only 11 months”. It’s the implication that has damaging effects, “he walked at only 11 months so he is better than most kids…his sister…” and, “he should feel good about himself.”
Comparisons with others wouldn’t be so tough on our self-esteem (and others) if we didn’t judge the result as indicating we are good or bad, better or worse as people. Someone else is slimmer than me, doesn’t make me a lesser person. I’m more toned than someone else doesn’t make me a better person. These differences just are.
If we are competing (in a race, in class, in weight loss, in looks, in status, in quality of life or corniest jokes) that’s all well and good. There is healthy competition. It’s healthy when we don’t judge ourselves by the result as being lesser as a person or better as a human being.
Comparing and competing become deadly when we add the element of self-criticism (or other criticism) and we target our value and worth as individuals. I’m slower as a runner can be a stated fact. We don’t have to feel bad about it. Do I want to do something about it? Will I train harder? Will I accept my running time as my best effort? Will I try a different sport?
In the journey of life and self-development we are our best selves when we compete with ourselves and when we compare to what we know our potential to be. And if we do compare and compete with others, we can be supported in our growth when we use the results of our competition and comparison to advance ourselves, accept ourselves and celebrate our experiences!