So often we tell ourselves to be more this, or be more like that. Because if my friend can do it, I must be able to also. In fact I should do it “because that’s what everyone is doing these days.”
Comparison is defined as “the representing of one thing or person as similar to or like another” (Merriam- Webster).
We’ve grown in a society that convinced us in order to be well liked, rounded, or successful we must be the same as others. Follow in successors footsteps. No one can step outside the boundaries of today’s norm without great societal pressure or usually, retaliation. The thought of being set apart seems more daunting than ever. In some ways I question how much we’ve truly progressed in individualizing our world. How long we will live under the weight of trying to prove ourselves to the next in line? I’d argue it’s like walking in a hamster wheel with no where to go.
Against the Grain
Yet I’ve always found the ones walking against the grain get further than the rest. I think of Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks, Steve Jobbs and how boldly they spoke against the usual in their time. In the moment they were perceived as fools, rebels, and likely less than. The thing is when we’re so fixated and focused on being in another’s shadow- we forget the greatness of our own existence. We become comfortable and stagnant. With this comes not the growth we, nor our people, deserve. You never know who’s watching and the impact you make. Dare to be set apart, people will remember you better that way.
May we all reflect, this start of the new year, on the idea you weren’t made to be someone else. You weren’t equipped to be a clone. Ask yourself what is it YOU desire, what do YOU believe, and how do YOU view the world? It’s time we all escape the shadow of comparison, for it is said to be the thief of joy. What are you truly capable of once you let go of trying to be anyone but yourself?
I grew up as a dancer and there you MUST all look the same, dance the same, practically breathe the same. But our daily lives, our callings, are not on a performance stage impersonating perfection. Our lives may have an audience but we are not here to gather a score or win a plastic award.
I encourage you to let your flaws flow. Let your dreams be too big. Stop looking everywhere but within to define who you want to be. Because, my friends, once you see you are your own joy- comparison can have no say. You may be surprised by what roads you walk, people you meet, and opportunities you are given once you step out into your own calling. Perhaps stepping into the unknown is the greatest thing we can do both for ourselves and others. Our world will never change by staying comfortable or striving to be the person in front of us. Walk your own road. It is there your eyes will no longer be clouded with the expectation of being someone else. Be bold in how you see this world, what you know, and let your freedom show others the path to their own.