I went for a walk with the husband this evening and I asked him a question I’d been pondering for a while “is it healthy to compare?”. His automatic response was no… but then as I started to explain my thinking he became as confused as I was, and I’m not sure we ever reached a conclusion.
So… to compare or not to compare… that is the question.
There have been a few occasions recently where pupils have asked me about other pupils at the school, as they had been compared to them. I always refuse to comment and will only speak to pupils about themselves, because in that context it is unfair to compare… after all the circumstances, and situations for each person are going to differ.
However there have been other times where pupils have been declaring how good their behaviour has been, and when questioned on this they will say… “in comparison to what it was”!
I think I am starting to answer my own question
Maybe comparison is acceptable or healthy if we are comparing with ourselves.
Comparison of ourselves with others is never going to be healthy, or helpful. After all it’s not possible to really compare as we are all unique. Even if we have similarities with others, there are going to be more tings that separate us and give us our own identity. Similarly comparing other people with other people is probably not going to be healthy or helpful at all, as I imagine most people will only remember all the things that are not the same.
Should we compare ourselves with ourselves though? Today I met with my spiritual director, it’s been a pretty tough month, ending with a week where I have had seizures. However, as I was talking to her I was reminded of the mess I was in this time last year. Although this month and week have been pretty horrific, in comparison to this time last year I am doing pretty darn great!
Sometimes we have to compare to recognise the good that is going on, to be able to see the positive.
But this begs the question should we have to, or should we just be able to see the positive for what it is?
Does comparing with ourselves help us to excuse what we are doing now?
I am aware that I have put on weight over the last year, I am not happy with this, but I am also aware that as soon as I start thinking, ‘crikey you’ve put on weight?’ I also start thinking ‘well…in comparison to the size you were you’re still doing well’. I use the comparison to the life I lived, the attitude I had, the size I was as an excuse to not do what I know makes me feel better.
So go compare or no compare? I think I would agree with the husband that it is a no compare.
Comparing with others is never healthy it either makes us look down our noses at others or at ourselves. But comparing with ourselves is not much better. Rather than focussing on what is happening at the moment, we are focussing in a part of the journey that has already happened, which will end up suggesting that either that part of the journey wasn’t any good, or the current part of the journey isn’t any good. Whereas we should be focussing on the journey, learning from what has been, enjoying the part we are in, and considering where it will go in the future.
The advent I’m going to be looking around me, where I am, and what I’m doing, making the best of this journey to Christmas.