Comparing Ourselves to Others — A True Barrier To Connection
“We are in a spiritual crisis, and the key to building a true belonging practice is maintaining our belief in inextricable human connection. That connection—the spirit that flows between us and every other human in the world—is not something that can be broken; however, our belief in the connection is constantly tested and repeatedly severed. When our belief that there’s something greater than us, something rooted in love and compassion, breaks, we are more likely to retreat to our bunkers, to hate from afar, to tolerate bullshit and to dehumanize others.
I can't remember if this was from a situation on the bus or from a social media post this past week, but the fallout led to a profound insight on a huge barrier to connection — the too common practice of comparing ourselves to others.
I saw someone that immediately provoked a slight feeling of jealousy. The jealousy led to a bit of resentment, followed by judgment and an inferior categorization of them to cope with the hit to my ego.
"If I wanted to have that, I'd have be like THAT! Thank god that's not the case."
Basically, protecting my ego by adding a barrier of superiority between that whom I'm jealous of and my own idea of the self. This all happened within seconds, and after thinking about it for too long, I realized how negative of an impact this thought pattern has had on my life.
The result of this self-delusion and self-protection is a void of connection.
I'm not sure if this is something unique to me and the struggles I have in my personal growth, but the context is similar to so many other situations I experience as well.
The simple act of comparing ourselves and our lives to other people (especially someone else's highlight reel on social media), is one of the main deterrents of deep connection in our lives.
A thought of comparison, often based around our own fears and insecurities, leading to jealousy and resentment, leading to judgment and isolation. All to protect the ego's curated perspective of the self and our subjective view of how the world works.
The research shows that we are at a time of record highs for loneliness, social isolation, and the lack of confidants people have in their lives — those they are deeply honest with and open up to.
There is so much pressure to curate an aura and persona of success and happiness in all things in our lives, that when we compare the reality of our lives to others, we are afraid to open up the messy and insecure parts we all have and build those necessary and meaningful bonds.
Well, fuck that.
I will unguardedly say that I have a problem with comparing my life to other people's (and also with my own unrealistic, self-imposed views of success) and that leads to a lot of insecurities and feelings like I'm not enough.
We are in a new year, with a great opportunity to create whatever life we dream of for ourselves. My only goal, is to be fearless in my understanding of myself.
To be able to open up the layers, to look deep at the why behind some of the ways I act, and courageously and openly share those challenges and missteps as I work to grow from them.
You be you, there's no need for anything else.