Why do we compare? We all do it, some maliciously, some unintended but we all compare and it comes from so many places in our minds. We all also register the comparison in different ways, some of us are hurt by it and it dampens our self esteem. Some of us are challenged by it and channel it in a positive way. Comparison for me personally is a horrible thing and I do fall into the category of people that are hurt by it. When I was a little girl my parents would harmlessly compare me to my cousins or other more “smarter’ kids in my class in an attempt to get me to perform better at school in subjects they considered to be of great value. They would tell me in front of family gatherings they wish I would be better at science like my uncle’s daughters. I don’t believe they wanted to upset me but it really embarrassed me and made me feel inadequate.
I knew from a young age that I was never going to be into those typical Bengali “success subjects” like Maths, Science and English. I only did well in English because I like fiction and enjoyed babbling about my opinions in essays. This comparison that I experienced as a child has left a scar that I am choosing to use in a positive way in which I will raise my own daughter. As I got older and met more people in different stages of my life, I realised that everyone is comparing themselves to others. We have the media that so many of us worship comparing celebrities, politicians, religious leaders and so much more. I even found myself doing it as second nature especially when social media began to boom and the availability to get too much information on peoples personal lives. I found myself one day comparing myself to a stranger on Instagram and I felt that same inadequacy I felt as a child when my parents did it in front of all those people.
It was so strange that a mere projection of an idealistic life was making me feel in a such a way. That is when I realised this comparison thing is pretty self destructive. I made a decision that I would actively avoid comparing and people who want to compare me, my daughter, my husband or my loved ones. I never want my daughter to feel like she is inadequate. The same goes for my husband. Comparison robs us of the reassurance that we are indeed amazing. There is only one of each of us created uniquely and comparison steals away creativity when our focus is diverted to another person. So fellow parents, don’t compare your children, your spouse or your loved ones. Don’t even compare yourself to anyone else.
Please believe that you all are truly the best versions of yourselves. If you really want to help your household, cheer them on and the gifts and talents that are present. For instance my daughter is 16 months, loves to have conversations, sings and is left handed. I praise her for all her efforts and make a conscious decision not to compare her to other children. If I find myself doing it, I do tell myself off because when she is old enough to register those words I never want to feel what I felt as a child. As for your own morale, start with all the good things about yourself, write it down if you have to and it will slowly spread across to the things you never thought about that are incredible about you too.