Comparison kills.


You know this, but you do it anyway. So do I. And it’s time to stop.

My parents constantly compared us to other kids. Themselves to other immigrant parents. Our family to white families. They were teaching us how to measure ourselves. And how to keep up.

It worked. We drove ourselves to compete, to excel, to win. And yes, to compare.

But comparison kills.

It's most intense when starting a new job, meeting new people, or doing something for the first time that others already know how to do.

You’re really asking, "Am I OK?" “Am I valuable?” “Do I deserve to be here?”

And even though you think you’re trying to adapt and respond appropriately to your environment by comparing, you’re actually becoming more self-absorbed.

You make everything about you.

Your colleague got a promotion. That means I’m falling behind.

A team member created a beautiful design. I’m not as talented as them.

Your boss complimented someone else. I did a bad job.

You hear a group of people laughing across the room. I’m not included.

A friend or lover said No. I’m completely alone, unwanted and worthless.

Catch yourself comparing? I compare more than others compare.

That’s right. You compare your comparing.

In fact, you’re an expert in all the ways you fall short. You could write a dissertation about it. You could do year-long lectures about it. You could win Supreme Court cases about it.

Every alarm, sensor, trip-wire, and camera is trained to pick up even the slightest flicker of threat.

BOOM! There! Hurry!

And like a firefighter, you rush in. But instead of water in your hose, there’s more fire.

It’s so ridiculous it’s kinda funny, right?

Actually it’s genius.

Your impenetrable sucking makes you infallible.

Because when you don’t deserve anything, you can never be disappointed. When you’re the worst at everything, you can never fail. And when no one thinks you can do anything, you’re free of their expectations.

Except you’re also dying inside.

My friend. My tender-hearted, soul-aching, love-seeking friend. Stop pouring your lifeblood into the gutter.

Stop focusing on how much you suck. Focus on how much you can help.

Because we need you. Your ideas. Your passion. Your strengths.

We want your story. Your experience. Your opinions. Your voice.

And we want to see you, so we can love you.

Show yourself.

Eddie Shieh, PCC, MFA