I’ve lived most of my life comparing myself to others. At first, it was school and sports. But as I got older, I began comparing job title, income level, house size, and worldly successes.
The tendency to compare ourselves to others is as human as any other emotion. Certainly I’m not alone in my experience. But it is a decision that only steals joy from our lives. And it is a habit with numerous shortcomings.
The negative effects of comparisons are wide and far-reaching. Likely, you have experienced (or are experiencing) many of them first-hand in your life as well.
How then, might we break free from this habit of comparison?
According to spiritual master Osho, it’s about recognizing that each individual is unique and that comparison is impossible. Check out his inspiring passage below:
Osho on why you need to stop comparing yourself to others
In his book titled Guida Spirituale, Osho explains why comparison is a disease and why you need to put a stop to it:
“Comparison is a disease, one of the greatest diseases. We are taught from the very beginning to compare. Your mother starts comparing you with other children. Your father compares. The teacher says, “Look at Johnny, how well he is doing, and you are not doing good at all!”
From the very beginning you are being told to compare yourself with others. This is the greatest disease; it is like a cancer that goes on destroying your very soul. Each individual is unique, and comparison is not possible. I am just myself and you are just yourself. There is nobody else in the world to be compared with. Do you compare a marigold with a roseflower? You don’t compare. Do you compare a mango with an apple? You don’t compare. You know they are different – comparison is not possible.
Man is not a species. Each man is unique. There has never been any individual like you before and there will never be again. You are utterly unique. This is your privilege, your prerogative, life’s blessing – that it has made you unique.”
Comparing yourself is an indication that you haven’t “come home” yet
In another passage, Osho says that comparing yourself is simply your ego trying to decorate itself. Instead, it’s more useful to learn to be comfortable with yourself:
“Nobody can say anything about you. Whatsoever people say is about themselves. But you become very shaky, because you are still clinging to a false center. That false center depends on others, so you are always looking to what people are saying about you. And you are always following other people, you are always trying to satisfy them. You are always trying to be respectable, you are always trying to decorate your ego. This is suicidal. Rather than being disturbed by what others say, you should start looking inside yourself…
Whenever you are self-conscious you are simply showing that you are not conscious of the self at all. You don’t know who you are. If you had known, then there would have been no problem— then you are not seeking opinions. Then you are not worried what others say about you— it is irrelevant!
Your very self-consciousness indicates that you have not come home yet.”