Dose #3: Comparing; The Test of Personal Worth
Updated: Jul 5, 2022
"Opposites throw light upon each other." ~Schopenhauer
We compare ourselves to those we believe have more - then feel inadequate.
We compare ourselves to those we believe have less - then feel superior.
We move to align with those above, avoid those below.
How foolish we are. What a waste of time. If we chart the span of one life, drawing a line following the ups and downs - from inferior to superior and back again - we would see how emotionally unmoored we are in this game of ratings. Do we really think identifying with those we see as better will make us better too? What denied similarities to those we deem not good enough might we see in ourselves under the light of association?
We assess fellow travelers in seconds, bringing prejudice and life-long beliefs to every encounter. The animal in us wants to know where we stand. For better or worse.
Lines of difference blur when the instinct for survival overwhelms prejudice. Judgment turns to gratitude when the stranger thought of as less, offers a hand, bringing you to safety when you've fallen in the street. Would you ask the stranger for credentials? Would you challenge the worthiness of another that they may be the one to lift you up? You - the one you see as higher? And, if you are the one who feels less, would you ignore the other, leaving them in harm's way? Instinct pulls rank over the deepest perceptions of difference.
For those we judge, we might ask, "How would I be, born into similar circumstance?" - considering opportunities of wealth, the limitations of poverty?
We are more alike than not - in the need to love and be loved, the desire to feed and house those in our care, to work in the day, rest at night, to accomplish, to laugh. Rich or poor, high or low, we weep when loved ones leave, feel alone when no one is there, feel fear in the face of threat, grow frail when we are old.
The secure have little need to compare. The secure find the way to connect - to show others their worth.