This week’s blog comes at the suggestion of my 11-year-old daughter. She suggests that I write about “comparing yourself to those who are less than and how you should always strive to be your best.” You’ve got it baby girl! I like it, and I’m running with it.
For many years now, I have been confused, surprised, and amused at those who compare themselves to those who are “less than” themselves to make themselves feel better. An example of this would be “How can you say I don’t pay any attention to you just because I am in the house playing video games? I could be hanging in the streets with the boys, or in the clubs, or with women at night. Instead I choose to be here with you.” One is always going to look good in comparison to someone doing something more egregious than you. But what about the spouse /significant other who is doing a better job than you? Why not compare yourself to them?
I think I have the answer. Most of us want to feel good about ourselves, even in areas where we know that we require improvement. We would rather tell ourselves that we could be worse than to acknowledge that improvement is required. Why is that you ask? I think it is quite simple. Once we openly acknowledge our short-comings we are obligated to act upon them. We no longer have the upper hand in the argument that we held when we could haughtily say “well at least I don’t…” Let’s be honest, the discussion sounds a bit different when we acknowledge that “… the least I could do is.” Can you hear the difference?
It may be frightening and it may require work but I challenge you, as I challenge my children, to strive to be the best. Do not compare yourself to the worst. In my home, this attitude has resulted in a healthy competition between my two children for grades. The well-placed benefit for me? I don’t have to say a word. They strive to be the best (of course the girl moreso than the boy 🙂 ) and have bought into my concept that anything less than an 85 is failing. I didn’t have such prodding or competition as a child. As a result, I didn’t push myself to the fullest of my capabilities. I told myself “…well at least I’m not failing. At least I’m still in accelerated classes.” Don’t get me wrong, I think I am a great individual, but there are areas where I come up short. I remind myself, in these areas, not to take the easy cop-out. Instead of consoling myself with what “at least I’m not” I try to look at the point I’m still trying to reach. I won’t reach all of the peaks, but I’ll be a much better person in the long run if I continue to strive to be the best.
(special shout out to my baby girl Analeis for the inspiration)
Spread love…peace and blessings.