When I think of the Devil, I think of a destructive force, an entity that is working against my greater good, that wants to take me down. The quickest way for me to self destruct and spiral downward in my thoughts and actions is to start to compare myself with others, with other versions of my self, with social norms, or pretty much anything or any person. The Devil for me is comparison.
Comparison often, by its very nature, winds up looking for one thing to be better than the other. In my journey I am trying to disengage from that thinking of hierarchy, of this is better than that, or one is good and the other is bad. I am doing better, but some days I have to be honest, I struggle.
Some things I find myself comparing are outer appearances, such as body shape, size, and weight, I also find myself comparing to others with regards to job, financial status, material items, kids and all things surrounding parenting, marriage,etc.... It can be an endless cycle if I don't keep it in check.
*Used vs. New
*Old vs. Young
*Thin vs. Fat
*Rich vs. Poor
*Light vs. Dark
*Cold vs. Hot
*Tall vs. Short
*Fast vs. Slow
*Big vs. Small
*Working Mom vs. Stay at Home Mom
*Breast vs. Bottle
*Republican vs. Democrat
*Male vs. Female
*Rock vs. Pop
*Heels vs. Sneakers
*Coffee vs. Tea
*Vegan vs. Vegetarian
I mean, it is never-ending!
In comparing we run the risk of either becoming too hard on ourselves, putting ourselves down, even finding a state of self-hatred, or we risk letting our ego get too big and thinking that we have somehow arrived, know more, or are better than someone else. Comparison has the ability to be a very ugly, very damaging practice. And yet, most of us do it daily.
I believe there are times when comparison can be healthy, when it is done from a non-attachment mindset and with the purpose of becoming more aware of one's self. It can be hard to look at two different things and see the beauty and purpose in both if society, religion, or even yourself have told you that one is right and one is wrong, or that one is more desirable than the other.
In order to combat comparison, I must continue to ask myself the hard questions that go along with learning about myself. Questions such as 'why do you think thinner is better?', 'what is wrong with having wrinkles or grey hairs?', 'do you really think you would be happier if your bank account was bigger?', 'do handstands really make you a better yoga instructor?', 'What difference does it make if their house is newer or bigger or both?', 'were you really better 10 lbs lighter or 10 years younger?', 'Why do you seek other's approval over your own?'. I could go on and on with topics that require me to stop and think about why I am feeling the way I am and why I am comparing in ways that do not matter in the big picture. It is my battle I am waging war against and praying to win.
I am grateful that I am now aware of comparison being my devil. I am grateful I am now able to pause and notice when I am derailing from my intended path of self-love and into the ditch of comparison. But, with awareness comes responsibility. I now also have to take the time needed to evaluate, choose more wisely, and readjust my trajectory. I do this self-adjustment through positive self-talk, journaling, meditating, breath exercises and even more positive, loving-kindness, self-talk.
When I find myself beginning to compare, I am working to find the beauty in both and seeing the differences as making a more beautiful whole. I tell myself "I am okay, good even, I am enough."
Do you struggle with comparison? What tools do you use to let go of or get out of the comparison cycle?