Can't Compare

Whenever we go out to eat, and my whole family orders burgers and fries, everyone else gets better fries than me. Their fries are fatter (I prefer fat fries to skinny ones) and less burnt (I prefer lighter colored fries) and more abundant (I prefer too many fries to not enough). Of course, no one else can see the enormous difference between my plate of inferior fries and their plates of superior fries. They all think I am just whiny. Then I proceed to steal fries from them to even up the score.

This is just one example of the pain and suffering that can be caused by comparing. I'm not sure if everyone does this as compulsively as I do, but I can guarantee it is not the road to happiness.

Another example is something that I see happening in my classes all the time. A new person will begin taking my class. She (I get zero men in my classes!) will inevitably look around at everyone else to see whether or not she belongs. When we perform a series of push-up's, she may not be able to do all of them. When we are dancing, she may not know the names or the rhythms of all the particular steps we do. If she compares herself to the rest of the class, many of whom have been attending this class for YEARS, she will find herself lacking. She might decide, therefore, that she does not belong in this group and needs to find an easier class. When the reality is: she will quickly become stronger and more comfortable if she sticks with it, ignoring everyone around her, and just doing her best.

We all have strengths and weaknesses. And beyond that, we all have public and private strengths and weaknesses. Some of us may look strong (or beautiful or wealthy or peaceful) on the outside while on the inside we are filled with jealousy, fear, insecurity, anger, and hatred. By comparing what we see on the outside of someone else with what we feel on the inside of ourselves, we will almost always come up short.

It is just not possible to be Number One every single time. Maybe your hair looks great today, but there will always be someone else whose hair looks even better. Maybe you lost five pounds but there will always be someone who is skinnier. Maybe your son received an excellent score on the SAT's but someone else's son is definitely headed to Harvard. Maybe you ran your first 5K but your neighbor completed a full marathon. And on and on.

I guess the bottom line is: just enjoy your fries. If you spend your whole dinner checking out everyone else's fries, you will miss out on the deliciousness of your own. Trust that your fries are perfect for you.