Monday, August 30, 2021

Comparisons Are Odious


A monk, John Lydgate, back around 1440 in his debate between the horse, goose, and sheep concluded that "comparisons are odious". They debated not their own merits but what each gave to the human race for flourishing. The results of this kind of talk are often not helpful.

In a diocesan bulletin, a director of a counseling center gives the readers some thoughts to ponder in comparing ourselves with others.

We have all experienced in one way or another being compared to others. It's a very natural aspect of life. At times it helps us to study more, increase effort,  accomplish something we wouldn't. Is this not true? Actually, we find ourselves judging ourselves and when the results are positive, our self-worth grows in our own eyes.

However, it is a two-edged sword. At times comparisons can arouse within us motivation for success and accomplishment but often give rise to obstacles in life. Examples: we see others who have a nicer appearance, a better car, a more harmonious marriage and conclude that we are lacking what others have. We feel inferior, unsatisfied, guilty, and look down on ourselves cruelly.

The possibility of positive results makes us happy but again looking down on others can also boomerang. This attitude can create excessive anxiety about the future when we know we too can fail at any time.

We always see the part of the iceberg above the water but the more important part is under the water. When we compare with others we don't think of effort expended or the process required but only the results. Life is much more than success achieved.

We need to stop comparing ourselves to others. Often we distance ourselves from what is far more important: the meaning of love, friendship, empathy, and mutual understanding. When these are forgotten relations with others suffer.

We are all unique individuals and consequently all different. When we desire to be like another, we don't believe in our unique qualities. Chances are we will not be what God has planned for us and we allow others to decide how we will live.

Today, she hopes you will take a moment to reflect on who we are and what we have received as blessings from the Lord.  

The only person we should try to be better is the person we were yesterday and as Christians to be more like the Lord.

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