“Never compare your insides with someone else’s outside.” – Hugh Macleod
It is not often that the quotes I share with you come from someone who is still breathing. Today’s quote does and this makes me a bit nervous. See I am not certain if I am using the quote the way that Hugh Macleod intends it to be used. (See http://gapingvoid.com/about/ to learn about Hugh). However, as he is all about being creative and has also written a book called Ignore Everybody I am going to proceed.
Have you ever heard the expression, ‘comparisons are odious’? This was one of my mother’s famous statements to us when we would say, “Well so and so has this.” Or “Person X does that.”
Comparisons, when used to limit yourself or disparage yourself (or others) are pointless. Actually pointless is not a strong enough word. Comparisons when used incorrectly can be dangerous.
When you compare yourself to someone else, it is likely that you are comparing who you are with who you think they are; hence your insides versus their outside. This holds true in both seemingly positive and seemingly negative comparisons. A seemingly positive comparison is when you look at someone and think, “Wow they have it all, looks, brains and money. I wish I could be more like them.” You might think this is a positive comparison because you are admiring them. With this admiration you are putting yourself down. By wanting to be like them, you are telling yourself that you are not good enough. You only see what is going on outside of them. You do not know about their inner being. This person may have an excellent outward appearance, but what is going on in the inside? Admiring someone for their positive qualities as a source of inspiration is good, using the comparison to sell yourself short is not.
Conversely you might compare yourself to someone to make yourself feel better. “Well at least I am not like person X”, you tell yourself. This is a negative comparison. You are looking at someone and judging them. You are deciding that you are better than they are. How do you know? Can you look into their heart? Into their soul and see what they are made of? I doubt it.
In today’s world of reality TV it seems easy to fall into the comparisons trap. There are shows about people living all kinds of lives. Stay away from this type of dangerous comparison. I do not need to compare you to anyone else to tell you that you are better than that!