Deadly Comparisons

As I notice more and more occasions these days where I am one of the older people in any given room, and as I observe that folks classified as “overnight successes” are getting younger and younger, it seems a fitting time to consider the subject of comparisons.  They’re my thorn in the flesh . . .  the proverbial albatross around my neck . . .  the cross I seem to be continually bearing . . .  you get the idea.

Somewhere along the way I developed this pesky habit of noticing how other people are doing, particularly in the arenas that interest me and then giving myself a hard time for not doing as well or better.  It’s petty.  It’s superficial.  It’s totally unproductive.  It’s me.

But the question is, why do I continue to do something I know is counterproductive?  Comparing myself to others is nearly always a lose/lose proposition. So I asked The Shower Team, why do I keep choosing to play a game I can’t win?

If you could somehow compile statistics for such a relatively unquantifiable thing as death of dreams, we assure you that you would find comparisons to be a leading cause.  It’s the wolf in sheep’s clothing that scatters your herd of dreams and desires, leaving them lost and vulnerable to all manner of attack.

 

We watch you—every one of you—launching your brilliant desires from the place of pure genius creation that is your natural state, and we see the childlike wonder and joyful anticipation in your eyes as you contemplate how far into space those rockets will travel before coming back to you in a wondrous explosion of fulfillment and satisfaction . . .  You stand there oh so briefly and beautifully focused on YOUR rocket and its perfect trajectory . . .  and before it’s even out of sight, you allow your eyes to wander to the ones next to you, also launching their rockets . . .  and you see them sneaking glances over at you and pretty soon you’re all busy checking each other out and noticing how far his rocket has gone or her rocket has gone and, hm . . .  their rocket seems to be moving a lot faster and going in a completely different direction and, I wonder, shouldn’t my rocket be moving at that same speed or heading in that direction?  What’s wrong with my rocket?  I must have misfired somehow.  There must be some malfunction or I must have not have as much knowledge or experience as that launcher over there . . .  how will my rocket ever catch up to theirs and if it doesn’t, what good will it do me to have launched the thing in the first place . . .   I must be one lousy rocketeer with no idea what I’m doing.  Who do I think I am, standing here in the midst of all these master rocketeers, launching my puny, piddling little rocket. . . .  

 

Perhaps we’ve beat the metaphor somewhat to death, but you see our point.  The minute you shift your focus from YOUR desires and your alignment with them, is the moment those desires begin to lose their momentum . . .  you become divided in your attention and in the energy that you are flowing to and through your desires, you become conflicted in the vibration that you are offering—one minute aspiring to reach the heavens and the next, crashing down to earth by your choice to evaluate yourself by someone else’s criteria.

 

It’s no wonder you struggle with this.  The comparisons start practically before you’ve got a tooth to chew with. You’re evaluated in terms of how ‘normally’ you reach and move beyond the accepted standards.  Are you learning to poop neatly and routinely in the pot?  Are you moving from babble to discernible syllables on time?  Are you pulling yourself up and putting one tiny foot in front of the other on schedule?  Heaven forbid you get a little behind in any of that—your anxious parents will have you sitting with an ‘early development specialist’ faster than they can change your diaper.

 

It only gets worse as time goes on.  You get the message from nearly every front that you’re only as attractive or intelligent or talented or successful as whatever norm has been established by the vocally insecure masses.  You find yourselves understandably torn between what truly calls to you and what the legion of others insist should be your ambition and your timeline.

 

It can’t be done—this mixed, conflicted approach to having what you want.  You cannot stand in your perfectly creative now, allowing the creative energy stirred by your desires to flow, and at the same time turn your attention to what anyone else is doing and judge yourself lacking—and expect any pure response to what you’re asking for.

 

We continually encourage you to ignore those around you, at least in terms of paying any real attention to what they’re doing or how it’s going for them . . .  We continually encourage you to see and believe that you have nothing to do with them and they have nothing to do with you.  They cannot influence your progress—or your lack of it—in any way that you do not allow.  Not one of them can bring your rocket back to earth or cause it to veer off course.  You and only you man those controls.

 

So what sort of captain of your own ship do you prefer to be?  One who relishes his or her command and goes with what you know is in your heart—or one who looks at and listens to every naysayer, every voice of caution or disapproval, every well-intentioned but ultimately deadly bit of advice?

 

Make the words, “That has nothing to do with me” one of your mantras.  When your attention is drawn to another’s progress or achievement or manifestation . . .  even if they are experiencing something that you also want but have not yet received . . .  remember that they can’t get their hands on anything of yours . . .  that what you’ve asked for is still waiting for you and that the more you focus on your movement toward it rather than their seemingly quicker progress . . . the sooner your desires will explode into the galaxy of perfect fulfillment that is yours and yours alone.

For some reason Captain Picard’s words “Make it so” keep ringing in my ears.  Oh for that single point of focus, never wavering from my own distilled desires.  Sometimes life on an island sounds pretty good.

But since I inhabit a fairly crowded planet, where it’s hard not to notice the guy or gal next to me . . .  I guess I’ll just have to keep trying to remind myself that even though we share the same sod, we all have our own piece of the sky pie.  Maybe it won’t ever be an easy thing for most of us to do.  Maybe “easy” is overrated.  But that’s another blog.

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About Dan

Published novelist, poety, essayist, photographer and college educator. Visit me at www.firstadream.com.

Posted on October 20, 2008, in Self Development. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Man,you have a point, comparisons are a bummer, and a hard habit to break!

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