Compare yourself only with the person you were yesterday
A common human pastime is comparison: “My car is better than theirs; their house is better than mine; my phone is smarter than theirs.” Through such comparison, we essentially compare ourselves with others. If we fare well in such comparison, we feel good, exulting in superiority complex. If we fare poorly, we feel bad, succumbing to inferiority complex.
Today, with technology shrinking the world, our arena for comparison has expanded from our physical vicinity to the whole world. We unwittingly compare ourselves with the best in every category, often with digitally made up images of those people. By trying in vain to become like them, we beat ourselves up with feelings of inadequacy and insecurity.
But such self-flagellation is unnecessary. We all are unique. And we can make distinctive contributions according to what we are, if we just bring out the best within us. Bringing out our best doesn’t require us to become like someone else, however glamorized they may be. Bringing out our best requires our going deep within ourselves and realizing who we actually are and what we have been given.
Gita wisdom explains that at our core we are souls, parts of the omni-benevolent supreme, Krishna. He has given us whatever we need for our spiritual evolution. The Bhagavad-gita (18.47) cautions us against craving for others’ work just because it is glamorized. Instead, it urges us to focus on our own natural work, work natural to us according to our inclinations and situations.
For thus bringing out our best, the best reference point of comparison is we ourselves – that is, we compare who we are today with who we were yesterday. By such comparison, we can avoid the twin pitfalls of inferiority complex and superiority complex. Making incremental self-improvement, we progress steadily towards lasting and fulfilling self-actualization.
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