Friday, April 30, 2010

The problem with comparisons

For years now, I've been reminding people of that old slogan, "Comparisons are odious." Here's something that speaks to this issue:

Resist the temptation to compare yourself to others in a negative fashion. . . . If you are in the midst of making such comparisons--stop! It is human nature to do some comparing, and when we are in a good spot and feeling pretty good about ourselves, it can even be positive, as it may inspire us to emulate someone else. But when we are wrestling with self-acceptance, comparing ourselves to others is one of the worst things we can do. It is tantamount to scolding a child who falls off his or her bike for lacking the skills of a professional bicyclist. We wouldn't think of doing that, but when we compare ourselves to others, with us on the bottom and virtually everyone else above us and better than us, we are hurting ourselves just as heartlessly.

-- Gary Egeberg

Comparisons, of course, are dependent on the faculty of judgment. In meditative practice, we learn how to accept without judgment. This is a critical skill that will help us hugely in avoiding the comparison trap.

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