Last time, we talked about the myth of perfection and how perfection and shame are near relatives. Perfection is typically about living in a way that is about making other people happy (or impressing them). Where living authentically is usually less hurtful (though possible more uncomfortable at times) and there is a lot more compassion towards others and ourselves.
Comparison = Perfectionism
It’s a slow spiral that we slip down when we start to look around and compare. And it is so easily done. From comparing what someone else has worn to a party to marveling at the contents of someone else’s grocery cart. We are social creatures so we are constantly taking in information about our environment and the people around us and it is natural to compare and wonder who is doing it right….
From Berne Brown’s, “Gifts of Imprefection:”
“Comparison is about conformity and competition. At first it seems like conforming and competing are mutually exclusive, but they’re not. When we compare, we want to see who or what is best out of a specific collection of “alike things.” We may compare things like how we parent with parents who have totally different values or traditions than use but the comparisons that get us really riled up are the ones we make with folks living next door, or on our children’s soccer team, or at our school. We don’t compare our houses to the mansions across town...
.... The comparison mandate becomes this crushing paradox of “fit in and stand out!” It’s not cultivate self-acceptance, belonging, and authenticity; it’s be just like everyone else, but better."
Woah!! Sound familiar?!
Having to be the same only a lot better is a lot of work!! Especially when we don’t always agree on what a lot better is, which makes BETTER a constantly moving target.
The other day I was thinking about easily we seem to accept that our figure prints are unique but we seem to really struggle with the idea that we as people are just as unique. Our needs, perspectives, struggles, fears, etc are just as unique as the patterns on our fingers yet we seem to insist on being what everyone else is or having what everyone else has (only better).
What if true perfection is authenticity?
Yikes!! That would be scary. Because authenticity is messy and it is doesn’t always look like what everyone looks like or sound like things people like or are comfortable with. It doesn’t always fit into a tidy, easily understood space.
I found this Buddhist proverb:
There is nothing noble in being superior to some other man. The true nobility is in being superior to your previous self.
What if the only person you compared yourself to is the person you used to be? You can look back on him/her with compassion and love and see that you have taken strides and grown. And possibly even think about how the you in 10 years would like to look back on the you today.
There is nothing noble about pretending to be like anyone else... And it is a lot of work keeping up the facade. It’s scary to stop!! But can you imagine how freeing it could be?!
As always, I’m here! What is something small that you can give up on today? I dare you. 🙂