The Problem with Comparisons

friends coffeeSo, is it possible to live without comparison of any kind, never translating yourself in terms of comparison with another or with some idea or with some hero or with some example? Because when you are comparing, when you are measuring yourself with ‘what should be’ or ‘what has been,’ you are not seeing what is. – J. Krishnamurti

Comparisons are odious. – Oscar Wilde

Most of us learned from an early age to compare ourselves to others. Competition and comparison are everywhere, in our schools and colleges, in our neighborhoods, in business and the workplace, in the media, in advertising and even among friends and family. Irish philosopher John O’Donohue called advertising “schooling in false desire”. We start to develop an identity based on outer influences and we feel compelled to gauge ourselves against another. Comparison is really the domain of the mind and ego.

I see it in the writing and creativity coaching workshops I do. It’s quite common in a writing workshop for people to compare their own work to others and they always feel that their work inferior. Then they share a piece that we all enjoy. Our creativity is the unique expression of ourselves and that will always touch others.

As Martha Graham, the mother of modern dance, said, “There is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost.” Have you considered how unique you are? What gifts, talents and abilities lead you to the unique expression of you?

If you tap into the knowing of your heart, you can reacquaint yourself with your uniqueness. Our heart is the seat of our unique expression or gifts that we can offer to this world. Rather than comparison our heart can help us celebrate our uniqueness.

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