– How old is she? i was often asked about my kid while strolling and playing in the park.
– Why? i would ask. The faces of inquires would get usually very puzzled.
– Hmm, to compare her with my daughter/niece/cousin’s kid…, would be usually mumbled in response.
– Do they need your comparison? would be my usual good-buy.
At school, my best friend’s mom would use two rulers to follow the marks on her daughter and my rows in the teachers notebook. I can only imagine the talks they had at home. As a result, our friendship suffered. My now ex friend has a PhD and i hope she did it for her professional fulfillment.
Comparison leads to wanting more, consuming more, spending time and effort on others ideals. We rarely spend time and effort on comparing where we are now to where we started from and analysing how much we achieved.
“Comparison is the thief of joy” said Theodore Roosevelt. I realise we cannot escape comparison fully though. Social media and glamorizing TV do not help with endless status updates, instagrams, tweets and alike. We see the surface and our brains make conclusions. It often does so from perceived weaknesses on our end.
I was raised in soviet union and even that “egalitarian” regime had a built-in competition. “Better”, “faster”, “more” were teachers and trainers favourites. In my grandmother’s village there was a competition for fastest growing trees. How can you make trees grow faster? They grow depending on their roots and need for light. They do not grow to compete with the neighboring forest.
I missed many joyful moments in life because of comparison, imposed or self-imposed. I also learned that Comparison can still be a friend when applied with care and in line with own intrinsic philosophy, values and aspirations.
I care now to make sure my kid learns to apply comparison when it benefits her growth. And it also helps me grow. The same way a tree does 🙂