The Pain of Comparison
A short time ago, a friend sent me a saying that read: “Popcorn is prepared in the same pot, in the same heat, in the same oil, and yet the kernels do not POP at the same time. Don’t compare your child to others. Their turn to POP is coming”.
I don’t think we really have any idea on just how much we suffer in comparing ourselves with others. As for myself, it feels like there is a constant part of me that always feels it needs to compare itself to others. The one thing that I have seen about comparison is that it is a form of judgment.
When one compares, they weigh and measure themselves against others. That “weighing and measuring” then comes with an automatic conclusion that either places them above or below others in that measurement. But have we ever asked questions such as: “What is this so-called scale of measurement based on and who and what provided that scale to begin with?”
Truthfully speaking, we don’t need to figure out who and what laid out that scale for us, whether it was society, our parents, etc. The only thing we need to do is question that scale of measurement as possibly being an old, hand-me down part of this world. After all, this blog is “Parenting Gone Unquestioned.”
Every single person in this world has something to offer, that only he or she can offer. There are no two identical thumbprints for that very same reason. We are unique facets of the one beautiful diamond that we call Life. Each of those facets unfolds in its own time. Sometimes that unfolding can take place early in life, and sometimes it can take a lifetime. But time is of no relevance. The allowing of ourselves and others to unfold in their own time is a gift we can give our children and others, which is the same as giving that gift to ourselves.
Comparing ourselves to others, comparing our children’s so-called progress or status, is laced with pain. Judgment is pain. It is pain for the one judging and pain for the one judged, because we are all “grounded in” one and the same Life. What I do to others, I do to myself. What if we really understood the truth of that?
Age is irrelevant in this unfolding. I am 59 years old, and it wasn’t until just recently that I have “come into myself”, meaning, where a passion for writing was found within me.
That passion, being a form of Love, had to unfold in its own time. I had to let go of old parts of myself that always worked to discourage me in doing anything I wished to do. Most importantly, I had to learn that there existed a guidance above me, a guidance that lives in the present moment. That guidance never discourages a human being, nor does a time frame or scale exist for it.
Work with your child, so they can learn to live a different life now, a life that isn’t based in the pain of comparison but in an incomparable freedom from that very old, borrowed belief.
We weren’t created to fit into a certain “box”. We were created to see that the “box” itself is an illusion, an illusion that we were just unaware of, because it was passed along to us generation after generation without question. But we can question it now….and we should.
Imagine what this world might be like if we would just learn to leave people alone, our children included, and let Life/Love teach and guide us all, according to Love’s time and Love’s time only.
Exercise for the Week: Keep a notebook with you this week. Try to catch thoughts of comparison. Write them down. See the pain in believing them. Depending on your child’s age, have them do the exercise as well, or discuss with a younger child the pain inherent in comparison. Let the moment guide you on what to say.
Image Courtesy of: Johannes Plenio