“I am what I am and if there are self-made purgatories, then we all have to live in them. Mine can be no worse than someone else’s.”
-Leonard Nimoy as Ambassador Spock
Of all the epiphanies I’ve gotten over the course of this challenge, this one is perhaps the most impactful one.
We compare ourselves way too often. It’s unfair. It’s dispassionate. Quite frankly, it’s an injustice to our peers. It’s insensitive to the unique path our lives have taken. I feel that anyone who has the audacity to sit and compare themselves to another is a coward. Bottom line, it’s a sign of cowardice and insecurity. Namely mine.
It’s amazing just how much power that ability carries. You can be placed on a pedestal or reduced to the lowest form of consideration as quickly as the words are spoken. Personally, it’s just too great of a tool to wield objectively or even safely. It gives a tone of finality to everything. I mean, if I’m going to be compared to my parents in a negative connotation, I would find it hard to believe that no matter what I do to separate myself from that assessment, it wouldn’t change the beginning assertion. How can you fight that? Given how effective it could be, why would you even want to?
The point is that we don’t like having our individuality taken away from us. I certainly don’t. It’s dehumanizing to be likened to another. Our unique methods and style aren’t really comparable. The sad thing is that we use each other as a measuring stick. I get why we do so. I mean, apparently, it’s our only means of determining our value. Sure, we can be this or we can be that. However, if another person is more so of this than we are, our value is all of a sudden declined. I, for one, don’t like being made to feel inferior or superior for that matter. I’d like to think that I’m not worth any more or any less than the next person. However, I would like to believe that I’m different. I’d like to think that my combination of talents and skills would offer a unique opportunity to affect someone in a way that merits benefit. Furthermore, I don’t think that where I came from or the ethnicity of my parents play into my ability or character.
One thing I dislike more than being compared to another person is to be unjustly categorized too. Stereotypes are socially crippling. Just because you’re from a certain part of the world doesn’t automatically make you capable or guilty of anything. I try not to associate people in such a manner. I just happen to think that we are above group thinking.
I’m more of an “exception to the rule” type. While I would agree that some people do fit the criteria, I do like to give people the opportunity to break away from it. We all break the rules sometimes, right? If we are going to break them, I just like to see how a person would go about it. It doesn’t mean I’d agree with it or not respond to it, but everyone has their own reason. I emphasize “own.”
Whatever that reason may be, despite our own good intentions, it all doesn’t end that way. Those consequences, however unintentional, just have a way of stigmatizing our identity and leaving its own reason. Being victim to your own decisions and negative reinforcements is an unpleasant and hellish experience without bearing the other consequences of being associated with other individuals who have made similar missteps.
One of the hardest habits to break is placing people in a pecking order. We, as individuals, aren’t meant to be ranked in such a way, if even at all. Because of this, we spend so much time trying to increase our value to an arbitrary system. I don’t like the idea of my worth being assessed in a percentile or by a more/less than or equal to the equation. We aren’t any more of one thing or any less of another. We’re just different. Because of that difference, we make decisions that seem to be better or worse in accordance with those differences.
There’s meaning in such comparisons. However, there isn’t any in being objectively ranked. We’re all different and that difference makes us strong. It gives us an ability to be more specific than generic. I’d like to think that we are more specialized because we are given proper opportunities to use our skills and talents. Don’t get me wrong, I think being well-rounded and multi-talented serves a purpose. But, I don’t know of one person who is such a way that manages to land in the proper spot.
I’m not denying that you can’t be successful. I just don’t know someone who is well-rounded in their skills that made them uniquely suited. Perhaps, that’s part of my problem. I’m a well-balanced person, or so I’d like to be. I haven’t done anything with myself that made me uniquely suited for anyone or anything. Thus, creating a vacuum of talent and opportunity. Not to say that there isn’t any for me to use or take advantage of; however, it is disconcerting to know that whatever all of this means it hasn’t yielded anything.
It is numbing to know that whatever it is that I’m supposed to be doing isn’t being weeded out by what I feel like I need to be doing. Maybe it’s just because I’m spending too much time finding my own value based on other people’s opinions instead of trying to find value on my own. But, anybody who knows me will say that my opinion isn’t the one that matters.
Explains a few things, actually.