I often think that one of the most frequent manifestations of pain & ego in our world is in the comparison of one with another. You to me. Me to him. Her to her. It is a behavior bred into our culture by generations of comparison.
Typically taking the form of Inferiority or Superiority, comparison is harmful to everyone involved regardless of the shape it takes.
In the guise of Inferiority, comparison looks like self deprecation, envy, and a victim mentality:
“I’ll never be as good looking as her.”
“I wish I had a nice house like that.”
“We can’t all be as smart as you.”
“I wonder what it’s like to be healthy like that.”
All of our egos feel diminished when confronted with the fact that someone else has more, can do more, or knows more than we do.
Our egos, of course, are trying to sell us on the idea that our worth is based on what we have, know, and do.
As Superiority, comparison parades as pride, bragging, entitlement, and a tendency to force Inferiority upon others:
“I’m pretty good at that, aren’t I?”
“I studied at…with….and I must say, it’s one of the best schools around.”
“I simply can’t camp, I need a shower so that I look my best every day.”
“What do you think about Robert Frost? You don’t even know who he is, do you?”
Superiority is routinely confused with confidence and self assurance. This is like comparing a mule to a racing stallion (no offense to mules intended.)
Once again, with Superiority, the assumption is made that where we’re from, what we look like, what we’ve done, what we have, and who we know in some way impacts our value.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
The ego would have us compare our banana to their apple. Except that we’re never going to score points on roundness. Or redness. But we don’t need to. Because we’re not an apple.
It’s more like there’s only one apple, one orange, one cucumber, one “insert infinite number of unique fruits.”
The ego creates confusion between equal and identical.
Identical = The Same
Equal = Worth the Same
Remember that, while we’re all different in terms of what we look like, what we can do, what we know, what we have, who we are, we are all worth the same.