How do you compare?

"My six year old came home worried that she was not as good as her friend. What do I do?"

This was a question a lovely lady asked me this week and in answering it, I have found myself talking about comparisons to numerous other people too.   Perhaps it was just on my radar or 'someone' telling me that it's an issue that many people struggle with because when you compare yourself with others, you typically find yourself falling short.

Here is (briefly) the advice I gave her:

Get hold of an apple and an orange.  Gemima is like the apple.  You are like the orange. They are both fruit, both juicy and tasty but they are different and no matter how hard they try, they are never going to be the same.   Gemima can become an even bigger, even juicier apple and you can become a bigger and juicier orange and you can be really proud of how big and juicy you can become."

Ok, so that is relevant to a 6 year old but fruit aside, comparisons seem to be everywhere this week.  Weight loss people comparing their shrinkage to others - forgetting that the timescales/starting size/backgrounds/habits were no sound basis for comparison - we're talking oranges and eggs!  However, when we then applied the same logic and looked at comparing themselves against themself of the past, suddenly they felt so much better as the success was so much more evident when the comparison was a fair one.

So sin of sins - I then did the exact opposite.  I talked to one client about how much worse others had a certain condition but were still leading fulfillling lives.  In my head it made sense but in their head, how could they compare themselves to someone worse off becuase that was not a fair comparison!!  So we all do it!

When talking to people of Mum and Father-in-Law's illnesses recently, a common question that comes up really quickly is 'How old are they?"  When this first happened, I got really up tight about it - as if it is OK for someone to die at 88 - is that a good age to die?  It took someone telling me a story of a 35 year old who has months left to live.  Another of a 45 year old with two young children.  That put some perspective back on things and brought me full circle back to oranges and apples.  The end of life of a 88 year old cannot be fairly compared to the departing of a 35 year old still in the prime of life.  Just like apples and oranges are both fruit, they are not the same and there are too many variances to make the comparison a reasonable one.  

So this week I have committed to stop comparing anything other than against a previous version of me.  I believe that every day, in some way, we learn something that makes us wiser, stronger, more adaptable more....of many attributes.  Comparing myself (or others) to others is bonkers and serves no purpose.  So as long as I am becoming a bigger, juicier orange, then that is all that can be asked of me!

What about you???

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RE: How do you compare?

Comparison is the thief of joy - Theodore Roosevelt You cannot know what price another has paid to get to where you see them.
Commented by: Diane on Monday 23rd October 2017 09:55:29 PM

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