June 16      

Today's quotation:

Never judge your strength by comparison, because there is always going to be someone who is more experienced than you.  Judge by your dedication to what you do, and your ability to make progress.  And even if there is someone better than you, use that as motivation, and strive to become better, because that's what they did.

Aaron DeCamp

Today's Meditation:

I really like to run, and I like to compete in runs.  That said, though, I don't like to worry about what place I came in.  I don't compare myself to the people who are faster than I am, other than to think, "that person is faster than I am."  The same with those who run slower.  At my age and given the fact that my body is what it is, I'm never going to be as fast as many other people, and that's fine with me.  I still have fun at races, and no matter what place I get, I know I've done my best for that day, and others have done their best, too.  Next week, my best may be better than his or hers-- and maybe not.

When we compare ourselves to others in an effort to judge our own performances, we face the risk of being overly critical of ourselves and harming our future performance.  I love to write, but I'm not a popular writer who's able to make a living at it, and that's fine with me.  I'm going to do what I do to the best of my ability, and I'm not going to be overly critical of myself or my work just because someone else sells more copies of their books than I do.  If I were to make that comparison, I would face frustration, resentment, and possibly even anger, and those are things that I don't want to be feeling.

Of course, sometimes comparisons can help us, as they can motivate us to be better and do better.  If I see a teacher who does something more effectively than I do, then it's up to me to find out what I can do to improve my own performance.  If I do so, that teacher is an inspiration.  If, however, I get down on myself for not being as good as that person, then my comparison is more harmful than helpful. I can't tell you how many young people I've heard say, "I'm horrible at that," even though they've tried something only once or twice, simply because someone else does it better.

Things are as they are, and the vast majority of times, it doesn't matter how they compare to other things.  If we're going to compare ourselves to others, let us do so in order to learn about our potential rather than to get down on ourselves for not being more, or not being better.  We don't deserve to feel the negativity just because someone else does something really well.  Let's give them credit for having worked to get good at something rather than criticize ourselves for not having the same experiences or skill sets.

Questions to consider:

To whom do you compare yourself?  Why?

Where do we get our tendency to compare ourselves to others?  Is it generally helpful or hurtful?

Do you use comparisons to motivate yourself or to criticize yourself?

For further thought:

Don't always be appraising yourself, wondering if you are better or worse than other writers.  "I will not Reason and Compare," said Blake; "my business is to Create."  Besides, since you are like no other being ever created since the beginning of Time, you are incomparable.

Brenda Ueland

more on comparison



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