“I can’t believe he did that. That’s what my ex used to do! Ugh!” “Why did he make fun of what I was wearing today? He is looking like an extra from a B-grade horror movie himself! Humph!” “He/she is just like my father/mother. GOD!” Every single one of us has had these or similar thoughts go through our heads, among many others. Especially, when a significant other has done something that we don’t like.
Shouldn’t we celebrate one another for who we are? After all, that’s what my spiritual friend who visits ashrams in Rishikesh always says, “We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
If we really feel that we have found our soul mates, and that they are truly incomparable to anyone or anything, why do we fall into the trap of constantly making comparisons? Are we all wired to look at people like we do when shopping for a favourite dress, or pair of shoes? We eventually get tired of a ‘perfect’ pair of shoes, don’t we? So, do we get tired of our partners as well? The answer to these questions, I have realized, are not as simple as we would like them to be. Comparing people, however, is pretty easy and convenient.
We live in a society that teaches us to judge everyone and everything we encounter. Just walking down the street a handsome stranger can flash you a smile making you feel like you are the sun, the moon, and the universe – and then your partner suddenly burps interrupting your daydream. Reality is not always pretty but it is worth it, right? At least, that’s what we tell ourselves.
The other day, over lunch, I had an epiphany and shouted out loud in a bar after a few drinks, “we are unique, incredible beings, full of life – we are all stardust, after all!” I was greeted with strange looks from people all probably comparing me to saner people in their lives. Maybe, we should stop judging ourselves first and start including the people we love in that pattern of non-judgment. A way to handle compulsive comparing starts by not comparing ourselves to our friends. The person who can define happiness for you is, guess what? You! If we start looking at our partners as individuals who think, breathe, and operate entirely independent from us, or others, maybe we will find that the only one we should compare them to is who they were in the past, how they treat us now, and how they will in the future. A human being is not a shoe, even though you might feel like throwing a shoe at them sometimes.
- Arjun Awasthi