Everyone always wants to play the comparison game. People are constantly comparing and either feeling jealous and insecure about their situation. It’s clearly a trap. You can analyze yourself and it gets you locked into a pattern of reducing yourself. There will always be something that will be at a greater, or different position. Even people that have “made it” sometimes do this. Always comparing yourself is troublesome. People always formulate an idea of how things should be. They see that things are greener on the other-side. I say forget it. These are ideas that keep you locked in overthinking. Rather than leading to the action of your goals, pursuits and purpose. I think people should look at people above as role models, rather than comparing yourself to what you have not yet accomplished. You are simply not there yet. You get there on your own terms and values.
I know a long time acquaintance that explained to me he doesn’t like to share that he is an animator. He told me he doesn’t like sharing with people that he has worked for companies like Disney or Nickelodeon. The way he explained it I thought he was attempting to keep people from feeling bad. It’s another comparison game people play. I told him that’s one way of downplaying one’s accomplishments. But whether or not he were to do it, the fact remains that he has done these things.
I think it means you got to look out for who you are talking to as well. There are some people that get flustered by other people’s station in life. Some people understand this game and understand it is a game but are nonetheless moving on their own terms. While some people can be seen as a larger, public figure, or someone that helps a lot of people. They are human beings as well. They had a beginning just as much as any other person. Epictetus once remarked that we should be appreciative of our station in life.
The Internet and social media that allows anyone to be a kind of internet celebrity. I understand this. But at the same time there is no sense of mystery of who the person is and people are always pinging what someone is up to rather than doing what they should be doing.
“What does he have that I don’t?” ‘I am better’ All too common phrases. I think if it’s case that these are valid. Then action should be taken to assert their validity.
Facebook and social media easily gives this illusion of the grass is greener on the other side. However, people that are intuitive and rational can see through this. Many people do put a facade. Some see through it. It is as they say, a highlight reel of people’s lives. Instagram is commonly doing this as well. Omitting a lot of the negative aspects of life. Recounting the positive in photos. These are people fluffing their lifestyle to appear immaculate. I’ve always felt I could see through these people. I would always wonder what is happening behind the scenes. I tend to understand the subtext of ideas and see the behind them.
Poor Imitation vs. Good Imitation
There are some instances when I was younger when I would imitate musicians and certain figures like that. But without understanding yourself this can lead you to different paths. The more you imitate unconscious habits and mannerisms, the less you understand yourself. As you become older you become less of an imitation of what you see. I would say that is true for myself. But when I was young I would also see clothing and hair trends and scoff at them. There is a lot of imitation. You can say that everything is imitation but many people make the celebrity to be a greater ideal and believing the grass is greater on their side. Rather than seeing celebrities as entirely flawed hostile or as addicts and having very unbalanced, turbulent lifestyles.
You don’t see everything about a celebrity but it’s becoming more difficult to lie and omit facts about yourself even. I never felt the immediate sense of feeling bad because of accomplishments don’t stack up to those around me. That is a damaging sense. It takes a person with good shoulders to appreciate the life and accomplishments of family and friends as they succeed. Without minimizing your self. I never had this feeling. But if there is a person I wanted to emulate I would always seek to emulate the good qualities however flawed they may be in other areas. I aspire to the best ideals that I see.
Who am I to tell you? I haven’t accomplished everything. But I tell you because I’ve never felt the sting of this comparing myself to other people. However, It seems that this is prevalent in the modern day. This was a common theme and issue in the film American Psycho, almost to the point of being a joke. It was a poignant social commentary on comparing ones-self. The character Patrick Bateman becomes obsessive in becoming better than his colleagues, to the point where he has so much self-talk that is negative and he is on a constantly striving to “fit in” or one-up the people around him.
I think the best way to look at avoiding the comparison game, is not seeing it as just a simple conformation. It’s not whether you have to conform to a social norm or become greater in the grander scheme. That is good in itself. But comparing yourself and overthinking of how you have not yet accomplished it is bad. That is the hazard. But you got to use it as fuel to start anew. To set the wheels in motion of a new life. Seeing your goal in mind.
One of the wisest men understood all of this and he told it in the Tao Te Ching. Some people mistake the Tao Te Ching as being entirely Passive but that is not true. He explains it so simply:
When you are content to be simply yourself
and don’t compare or compete,
everybody will respect you.
Imagine the final destination. But not by evaluating your measuring stick according to everyone Else’s measuring stick. You gotta measure your own measuring stick on a timeline. You can look out your rear-view window but also take notice of your own speedometer. See how far you’ve come. That way you will align with yourself, free from the influences around you. You will begin to see it objectively. You will become the essence of your goals and move forward. So ignore the rear view and pay attention to your own speedometer.