Don’t compare yourself to others.

Don’t judge others.

You hear it all the time.

But we do.

We can’t help it.

We are constantly comparing and judging.

It is part of being human.

Try to shut it off for a day and see how many times you find yourself judging and comparing.

We are taught to compare in school. It is a cultivated skill – to identify similarities and differences. Small and large scientific discoveries have been made through the process of comparing and contrasting, then asking questions, creating hypotheses and conducting experiments. 

We willingly submit to competitions where we are compared to our peers and judged. This is the entire premise in some of the most popular shows in our culture.

Then why are we told not to compare and judge?

Let’s start with the definitions.

Comparison: a consideration or estimate of the similarities or dissimilarities between two things or people.

Judgment: the ability to make considered decisions or come to sensible conclusions.

The definitions themselves are innocuous. 

There is nothing inherently wrong with comparing and judging. It is basically sorting information and coming to a conclusion.

It is what we do after we compare and judge. 

When we take negative action after comparing and judging, then there is a problem. 

When I compare myself to other speakers on the stage, I can tell myself that I am not as good as they are so I should just quit. Or, I could spot areas where I can improve and make a plan to do so. 

Comparing and judging can cause us some discontent. That is o.k. That is how we become better. A negative person stays stuck in discontent. They tell themselves they can’t get any better, so why try? This is just the way I am.

A positive person takes the discontent and forms a hypothesis. What if I could be…? Then starts to look for ways to make that happen. 

Remember that not every comparison or judgment needs to be expressed. Our children are different from one another. We should be identifying their strengths or talents and helping them to develop their potential. 

We should not compare our children to one another and label those differences that we discover as good or bad. 

That is the kind of judging we should avoid. 

Next time you find yourself comparing and judging, use what you find to create something better.

Dr. Paul