By Comparison

I think there is some lack of understanding on my part. Another part of my journey through life comes with a lesson I am having a hard time comprehending. Let me lay it out for people, so maybe someone can help me understand the answer.

From the get go, having siblings, especially older ones, is a hard thing for a few of reasons.  First, your parents are already tired. Second, though it’s an exciting new world for you, it’s not new to them, so it’s less exciting. Lastly, you will live in the shadow of what the other older child has done. Now,  this is not in any way a complaint of being born second, it has its perks. No, this is about that comparison.

My sister in some ways was a bar in which I was to reach. In school, friends, and extracurriculars I wanted to be something greater than the bar that came before. My sister, I believe, when we were younger could sense this, and in some ways played into it.  I can honestly say that my sister was much better at academics than I was, always pulling off better than average grades while I was studying just to get by.  The comparison ended though when we went in different directions in life, and comparisons couldn’t happen. Though I do like to tease her about my early completion from college, at the end of the day she was more prepared for what was on the other side.

My comparison had changed, it moved to friends, peers, and upperclassmen. Anyone and everyone, I compared to judge my distance, my strength, my abilities. Not a good way of doing things at the end of the day but it has kept me motivated for a long time. Seeing others move forward with their lives compelled me to figure out how to takes steps in the right direction.  It’s a frustration that I have, one that quells inside me and tells me to keep moving because I could be falling behind, one to teach me the discipline I need to get what I want to out of life.

It seems, though, that when I have come upon failure and I talk about how I am falling behind my peers in some ways that I should not compare myself to them.  That given the difference in path, situation, and lifestyle that I should not make those kinds of comparisons.

Why?

I don’t understand this point.  I compare to know the direction, I compare to motivate myself, I compare to foster greater things out of myself. Yes, it does bring me turmoil when I am not living up to these milestones, but great elation when I feel like I am moving according to the right track. Competition can bring out that extra energy to make good things great. Yeah, of course, I sometimes I don’t make it to the checkpoint in the time I want, but it keeps me pushing. I even compete against the person I was yesterday, a year ago, and the person I will be tomorrow. Working to live as purposefully as possible. People are social animals, we compare anything and everything, it’s dangerous in excess but its the easiest and most effective way we do things.

What am I to do? How to I improve without these comparisons. I do have goals and work to achieve them. I learn lessons from the world, from books, and from movies.  I know how I want to be. I have the people I want to be like in the back of my mind. I know who I don’t want to be, how I don’t want to act, and where I don’t want to go.

I do look to others for improvement, use people as a reflection of who I am. I know I have to deal with who I see in the mirror but it helps when I know I am backed up by others. I know to truly be someone of virtue and value I must learn not to pay any mind to the status of others  Life is not a race so I shouldn’t feel like I am competing.

If you have an answer of how not to compare, please tell me.

And if you know any way I can become a better person or even how I can learn not to be a bad person please let me know.

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