Do Your Best and Don't Compare Yourself With Others
- Dr. Neil Clark Warren for the eHarmony Research Library
- 2003 28 Mar
When we compare ourselves with other people, we inevitably end up performing at a significantly lower level. Granted, we sometimes feel better about ourselves for a few seconds or even minutes. But when we become convinced that we can feel good about ourselves only if we perform at a higher level than someone else, we ultimately lose our focus and end up feeling empty.
It was Freda Fromm Reichman, a psychoanalyst, who first taught me through her writings that comparisons lead to inferiority and superiority complexes-but seldom to positive emotional health. "Show me a person who has an inferiority complex," she would say, "and I will show you a person who one level down feels superior to someone else. And one level below that superiority complex, there is almost always some more inferiority. These layers of conclusions about one's own worth tend to reduce the freedom one experiences-and their performance is seriously reduced."
On the other hand, when we focus our attention on self-improvement-on "doing our best"-a totally different inner dynamic takes over. We always have our own "personal best." No one can ever take it away except us. And when we do our best, everything is even better and we can delight in becoming more efficient, more skillful, or more productive.
The fact is that comparisons are scientifically more complex and meaningless than anyone might believe. If each of us has a brain with some two billion megabytes of capacity, and if each of our brains allows us to do some things better and some things worse than others, figuring out the starting point for any individual becomes impossible. That is, you may simply be significantly better than I am in something because you are blessed with natural talent. I may be better than you in some other area. Why should we compare ourselves? Especially since this comparing causes us to lose track of our more reasonable goal-to simply do our best.
The Apostle Paul says it so simply: Do your best and don't compare yourself with others. If you will follow this advice, your "best" will get better and better and better. You will be able to pull for other people's "best," even if their best is significantly better than yours. This is a secret that will maximize your performance, minimize your anxiety, and greatly enrich all your relationships.
"Do Your Best And Don't Compare Yourself With Others" --(Galatians 6:4)
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