It seems to be almost an automatic response mechanism for us to view another person’s success, whatever that might be, whether in relationships, in business, in artistic talent or sports, and compare ourselves with them. Where does that habit start? Are we born with it?
The answer is N; you are not born with anything in your mind. Your mind is pristine, and all programming that occurs starts around the age of 2-3 years old. So, if we find ourselves in the “comparison mode,” what created that?
First, let’s weigh what impacts our mindsets from the early ages of childhood. You see, very little escapes us concluding something about ourselves, especially when we have any kind of emotional response to an action or event. We have this inner self that wants to make sense out of everything, so we draw conclusions, and at such young ages, they have no premise upon which to judge whether they are valid or not. Competition is one of those things. As a child, we may have had siblings who had different talents than we did. We struggle with comparison on why they are “better” than we are when such ability could easily just be an inherent trait they have that we were not born with. So, why is it we cannot understand that everyone is born with different talents/innate abilities? Because as young children, we do not have that understanding as of yet. Our parents can genuinely help us out in this regard as we have the innate tendency to trust them unconditionally (unless, of course, some event disrupted that natural “nurture” function). But that does not always happen as each partner typically wants their child to “be the best.” Other times parents use one child against another to build a competitive environment, hoping that the lesser talent “works harder” to be “better.” Ouch. “Why am I not good enough,” then “I am not loved as much”… yet another program that ends up in our subconscious and creates an even greater unexpected and unwanted long-term impact.
So, is it always arising out of multiple children’s families where the comparison mode starts? Not necessarily as our parents can start us off at age 4-5-6 with the idea that Johnny down the block knows how to “________” so why don’t you learn? Again, as children, we are now compared to a neighborhood child, or another preschooler or a grade-schooler. It is not just the parents, but the teachers, and then there is our acknowledgment of “why is he better than me?” As an introvert, we perhaps never share that, and it sticks with us for years or, worse yet, life. Do parents teach us when we are in our formative stages that “each of us is uniquely made,” “we all have our talents and will excel where they lie,” or do they get into comparison mode with the kids all around us…like grades in school, sports, musical talents, even personalities. The list of comparisons is endless. Did you ever go to a T-ball game and just listen to the parents yelling at another kid who does better than their child? “He cheated!” Or even worse, all without thinking about the impact on that child. Or scream and yell at their child for making a mistake because it cost the game? Ouch! Why is it some parents think their child has to be the best? We want it so badly for them; we literally “lose our minds.” And in the process, we impact their minds even more so – not in a positive way.
This lays the foundation for many limiting beliefs in our subconscious minds, whether about being good enough, or talented, or even restrict our perceived possibilities in life at 6-7-8 years old. Although these formative years truly shape a lot of our life expectations, they are continuously influenced through all grades, as we define ourselves by our friends, our perceived talents, our acceptance by our cliques, our … you can fill in that list. So, do we see how comparison with others becomes just an automatic habit?
Results: can be useful, harmful, or none. But that is based on what we choose to do with that information. And as a child, we have no real discernment on this. But the impact can be everlasting…or at least until that person discovers their voice, and truly understands no matter what, there will always be people better. The goal in life is just to be the best YOU. That is something we all can do, but if we are still stuck in comparison, the result will be lifelong unhappiness in our spirit of never being good enough, never perhaps even pursuing our gifts because “is it worth it?” We are born into this world unique…so choose it and be your best at your individual self, no comparison!