We compare all the time.
Ourselves against others –
“Bob’s much better at public speaking than I am.”
“I wish Matt would just clean up after himself like I do!”
“I’ll never be able to run as fast as Magda.”
Others against others –
“Mike doesn’t cook as well as Molly.”
“Sam’s better looking than John.”
“Betty’s so much more introverted than Brian.”
Comparisons put the spotlight on one characteristic. They highlight a specific aspect and perspective at the expense of others. They don’t tell the whole story or allow for the wonderful nuances that make up our extremely varied personalities.
Bob may be better at public speaking, but you connect one-on-one with people with great empathy.
Matt might be a bit messy, but you might frustrate him with your cleanliness OCD.
Magda may be a great sprinter, but you can go the distance.
Molly cooks up a storm, but Mike’s a great host and without him, Molly’s food wouldn’t taste as good.
Sam may be better looking, but John has that ‘something’ that just seems to draw people closer to him.
Brian might be the life of the party, but Betty watches and observes and uses that material for her next bestselling novel.
Next time you make a comparison, remember it’s just a lens; a filter through which you’re viewing yourself or someone else. Take that filter away, look more holistically and you may discover something beautiful, something unexpected, something surprising.