If Comparison is Bad, Why Are Some of Our Thoughts Knitted in Its Fabric?

And the biggest lesson we learn from this natural scenario.

Photo by Photoholgic on Unsplash

“The way we see the problem is the problem.” — Stephen R. Covey

In our times, when our world is connected in so many ways, we still seek meaningful connections.

According to a recent survey, Instagram is the worst network for mental health. The reason, as I’m sure you know, is the (incomplete) windows to people’s life makes us feel like we’re missing out on something while others enjoy life fully.

In the physical world, similarly, some shine like a rainbow while heavy clouds cover skies for others.

The same blue sky that brings hope to one part of the world, sees people dying from war and hunger in another part.

The cascade of life, in many ways, is unfair.

Not comparing ourselves with others is the oft-repeated echo somewhere in the background of our minds — our situations still comparison is innately the part of being human.

We, for example, compare ourselves with our past selves; we compare what we are going through with what we have been through at some part of our lives.

Research shows that 10 percent of all our thoughts include some kind of comparison.

Whenever we shift focus from the inside to the outside world, the constant buzz of competition catches us off guard. There’d be people who’d seem much wiser, happier, and much more successful than us. Feeling immediate feelings of comparison isn’t uncommon, for that matter.

The question, then, is if comparison is so bad, why are some of our thoughts naturally knitted in its fabric?

All our lives we strive to match our beat with nature’s untamed patterns and that’s the only way to seek growth. Why, then, comparison is an inherent part of being who we are?

Photo by Nacho Juárez from Pexels

Despite the uniqueness of our lives and circumstances, we cannot really know the depth of our uniqueness by ourselves.

We are the authors of our life stories but (sometimes) we have no idea what to write about.

On the road to finding our passions, for example, we seek inspiration from the world around us. When passion seems as a flickering candle or a fading chime in the background, inspiration (sometimes) unfolds through the people.

That’s probably why Khalil Gibran said,

“Self is a sea boundless and measureless.”

So, to get to know the limitless, measureless spiritual energy — to unlock the gems inside us — to find a way towards our own heart we do need a psychological connection with the circumstances of other people.

The search for perfectionism in our lives beyond the screen through a social media platform (or real-life scenarios) attracts anguish; it can be a drop of emotional poison, slow but sure way to descent but a slightly conscious choice amid the swirling images of comparison help us in owning our stories, our uniqueness rather than questioning it.

On our writing journeys, for example, we avoid immature comparisons. In the ebbs and flow of the journey, we learn to travel on our own roads, growing in our ways, finding a way towards our souls, but can we learn these lessons without curiosity? Without having a psychological connection with other people’s artistic work?

The pictures that we see through life, for that reason, are themselves neutral; we add colors and meanings to them through our perceptions.

The thoughts involving comparison are not the problem since they are rooted in neutrality, the problem is ripples created by our perceptions of those thoughts.

As they say, nothing is inherently bad, it’s our attitude that’s breeds the problem.

So to learn from the people around us, to seek inspiration from them, and define/redefine our definition of success, all we need is to see the whole picture of comparison. Experts believe it takes self-discipline to avoid the pitfalls of comparison.

Comparing ourselves with others can be a surefire way to disappointment, or it can be the way to writing a brave new ending. With one lens we get psychological, emotional pain that nourishes seeds of unhappiness, but when we dare to change the lens we get to know where to water the grass and uncover the uniqueness.

The point is, life is what we make with what we have, be it the thoughts or experiences.

The only thing that we have got to recognize with the tricky business of comparative is our focus — the focus that can either fill the gap in the incomplete picture with disappointment or with inspiration. As Stephen R.Covey has said,

“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”

Because the energy of what we seek reflects in our thoughts and ultimately finds its way to guide every corner of our life.

Thank YOU for reading! I wish you all a blessed day.

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