I understand the draw of comparison.
I understand how it helps us to feel grounded,
gives us a place to stand, knowing who is ahead, behind, beside.
Or, at least, that’s how we think it will be.
Does comparison actually ground us, though?
Or does it press us and those below us into the ground,
as we try to elevate ourselves but instead find more and more people above us?
Comparison is not life-giving.
So why do we continue to return to it?
Why do we keep asking it to tell us what everyone is really worth?
Comparison will always crush somebody.
Either you will crush or be crushed.
This pile of people clawing their way toward being the best,
the dominant, the one up on top,
Mostly because it is constantly moving
as the people below shift and cause
the people above to fall.
The only way
one may stand
on the top of a human tower
is if the ones
on the bottom
are content to be there.
Comparison naturally leads us into competition.
As we compare, we seek to better our own position,
but the problem is that comparison isn’t actually inspiring.
Comparison takes our eyes off of ourselves in the worst way.
We look at the person next to us and hope that they
may be placed below us, that we may be boosted up.
If we find that they are above us, our focus shifts back to ourselves,
but all too often it is only to nurse hurt pride,
and not to be inspired to better ourselves.
Comparison leads to seeing everyone around us as competition,
and only a few really allow that to inspire positive action.
Those who do usually reframe comparison
so that it isn’t even comparison anymore.
They change competition into community.
Instead of looking to others for a boost,
focusing on their own position in the hierarchy,
they look to others to find their place among them.
A community is made up of different people,
some who share similar skills working together,
and others who have varying skills…working together.
in a community.
In a community, one is free to be inspired by those who are more accomplished.
In a community, we are free to give a hand to those learning what we know.
In a community, there is no fear of one taking the position of another,
because positioning is forgotten as we all stand on level ground.
Community inspires cooperation.
Skills may come together and meet,
and collaboration is allowed to give birth to new levels of creativity.
As one builds, another builds alongside,
and everyone moves upward together.
The cooperation of creatives is a beautiful thing.
When we set aside competition and work together,
we create beautiful things and lift each other up in the process.
Do not expect a community to be there for you
unless you are there for it.
Do not expect a community to form around you
unless you purposefully build it.
Do not expect a community to serve you
unless you first serve it.
You must make an effort to establish community
in order to share the benefits of it.
So what will you do today
to quit the comparison
and turn competition into community?
Let go of your fear of inadequacy
and invite that seamstress to join you
in brainstorming a project.
Let go of your proud superiority
and invite that young girl to learn from you
as you teach her how to thread a needle.
Let go of your social anxieties
and invite them all to come together
as you create side-by-side.
Let your creativity feed others,
and you will find it feeding you.