Make Friends Not Comparisons
A studio member sent along an article about making comparisons. This is one of my favorite topics which I believe deserves much attention in our competitive culture!
In fact, one of the things that initially attracted me to yoga was that it isn't competitive. Activities offered to me as a child mostly included competitive team sports or performance. I had no interest in being gawked at, chased, or ending a game as a 'winner' or 'loser.'
In our world, comparisons are rampant, and even necessary in many instances. Including deciding which restaurant to eat at, which job to apply for, who to choose as a babysitter for your children, etc. - these decisions deserve delicate and measured thought. But it's these same tendencies toward comparison where we create some of our deepest suffering, often leading to resentment - by comparing ourselves to others.
As humans, we're emotional beings who strive for betterment, advancement, validation, and success. I believe, and many cultural theories express and even prove that what lies beneath all that goal orientation, is a deep desire to connect and be loved. This desire often produces a fear of scaricity, loss, and rejection. So, when we compare ourselves to others, while we may be intending to improve upon our current character, decisions, and aspirations, what it often looks like is what I call 'better or worse than' mentality. This is when we view another person's thing (their image, business, bank account, etc.) as a threat to our own thing. This begs the question, 'why does someone else's thing need to be bad for mine to be good?' The answer is - it doesn't. Two things can be great at the exact same time. Amazing, isn't it?
The very bottom line is that in our culture - There is plenty. Plenty of money, food, success, clients, friends, and love. More importantly, there is an infinitely bountiful supply of positive, life and health affirming, supportive, love driven topics, books, movies, goals, conversations, you name it - to be focused on for an entire lifetime without it ever being necessary to assume your value based on the perceived success of another. Directing our attention toward what other people are doing only to perceive it as a threat, is a self-defeating or even self-fulfilling prophecy. It's a waste of energy and imagination. Nobody else could ever be you and that will never make them any better or worse, it's designed to be just the way it is. I need to remind myself of this as I embark on the inherent risks and unknowns involved in growing a small business, so I certainly understand.
The practice of yoga reminds me that when there's an impulse to compare - recognize the motivation and do so with good and honest intentions by simply compare yourself to yourself. How far have you come and where are you trying to go? What do you need to do to get there? In what ways could you incorporate the practice of abundance, or plenty, in order to redirect the tendency to compare yourself to others? Here's the article sent to me which offers great insight and practical advice for doing just this:
One of the article's suggestions is to: 'become intimately aware of your own success.'
No matter what the mind tries to tell you about how another person's thing might slow you down, it's just not the way the universe works. We wouldn't be put here in existence if we didn't belong. It's your birthright to be exactly the way you are. :)
I hope to see you, exactly as you are, on the mat soon!