Comparison, It’s a demon that none of us have managed to escape since time eternal. Even as the first cavemen sat down alongside each other, they compared the tale of their hunt, the size of their muscles, and the length of their…err… armpit hair.
It’s been many years (I’m too lazy to search up the actual number) since we’ve evolved from Fred Flintstone to the current ‘modern’ human. By 2018, we’ve achieved greatness in all fields possible, like science, medicine, arts, or musi…well maybe not music. For some reason, that field seems to be going downhill by each passing year. Although with the same perspective, the current music can only be deemed bad, if you compare it with the music of the olden times. Without a sharp comparison, even Skrillex’s albums would be equal to Beethoven, Bieber and AC/DC could co-exist, and Britney and Taylor could be equally horrible at the same time.
We are all equal participants in these crimes
We as humans need the ruler of comparison to measure the achievements that we have accomplished. Just like your parents, who use that one annoying cousin to base your progress upon. Or your teachers, who use that one insufferable kid to base the performance of the entire class. Or your GF/BF that keeps using one of their Ex to judge your sexual prowess. We are all equal participants in these crimes.
But lately, I see an interesting paradigm in this phenomenon of comparison. While some of us are busy in achieving the honor to be compared to Ambani in terms of finance, Milind Soman in terms of physique, and Shashi Tharoor in terms of vocabulary, there are some that do the exact opposite!
Imagine this scenario, two patients sitting in the hospital lobby on the day they get discharged.
Patient 1: So, why were you here?
Patient 2: Cancer
Patient 1: Damn! me too.
Patient 2: Really? What kind of cancer?
Patient 1: Leukemia…
Patient 2: Well that’s not so bad. I had Lung Cancer.
Patient 1: What? Not so bad?! Leukemia is literally blood cancer. It’s the worst!
Patient 2: Yeah, but most people die from Lung Cancer. Leukemia has fewer fatalities comparatively.
Patient 1: But the complications of it are more severe.
Patient 2: Yeah. But my situation was more complex than yours.
And this conversation drones on and on until both parties hate each other and hope that they get cancer. If you think about it, surviving cancer is a big deal. None of their feats can be disregarded as casual common cold. So why was this argument necessary?
Some of us have developed this insane habit
When our close friends come to us depressed by the burdens of their problems, we sneer at them, ridicule them about how irrelevant their issues are compared to ours. How utterly devastating it is that you have to deal with an annoying boss, and how good your friend’s life is because they are still unemployed. The inconvenience of having a romantic relationship and how amazing your friend’s life is because they have never been in one. The stress of dealing with the final exams, and how awesome your friend’s life is because they met with an accident and broke both their legs.
Some of us have gone down a slippery slope of comparing our problems with others. We overplay our issues while downplaying everyone else. We hold our problems too close and instead of solving, we cripple ourselves with them. The worse is when someone tries to shine a light on their problems, we mock them for being so naïve and compare their problems with ours until finally we both start hating each other and hope the other gets cancer.
Problems are not teddy bears, you don’t need to collect them, nor store them, nor put them on a display case for all to see. You take them to solve them and move on, if they aren’t solvable, you just move on. Remember that, our achievements should be a measuring point for comparison, not our problems. And ironically, how you get achievements is by solving those problems, not carrying them around like an ugly streetside “Gucci” bag.