Yoga class. A practice in relaxing, in breathing, in being in the present.

And yet, I find I’m doing it again – yes, I’m guilty! Do you ever compare yourself to the person next to you? It seems there will always be a better yogi. The teacher gently reminds the class that we’re all perfectly fine at this exact moment in time, in this place in space. We embrace our bodies as they are, and we reach for change slowly, surely, in our own realms.

Comparisons are awful, for two reasons. First: perhaps you compare yourself to someone greater than you. There will always be a better yogi.  I Sigh. I can’t reach or bend as far as the next guy. Comparing to someone greater or better than you – and judging yourself for it afterwards – leaves you feeling deflated, uninspired, or depressed.

The opposite type of comparison is equally terrible. Perhaps you’re a bit better in yoga, and you reach farther and bend “better,” and you fluff out your chest a bit in self-appreciation. Your comparison – and your self worth – is directly related to the people around you.

How good or bad you are relative to other people doesn’t matter. What matters is you, in your body, in your space.  Your mind, your contribution. YOU.

Are you judging yourself?

Comparing yourself to others?

Or worse: comparing yourself to what you think you ought to be?

Comparisons are ruthless. Comparisons NEVER. END. You can get lost in the ether that is the internet, finding people who have similar ideas, stories, goals, beliefs, products as you. (Sometimes this is great – I’ve met some of the smartest, funniest, and most interesting people online, because blogging lends itself to the creation of communities of like-minded people.)

At the same time, there’s always the possibility for comparisons. Comparing twitter counts, or followers, looking at status updates, and friends online, finding other people who’ve done more or better than you.

For the most part, there will almost always be somebody better and brighter or more talented than you. And you can always find counter examples.

It doesn’t matter.

Comparisons are ruthless. If you spend your time comparing yourself to someone or something else, you will inevitably find a difference. And with that difference comes judgment.

Stop judging.

One of the most powerful forces in our consumer culture is to look at the possessions around us and crave more. More of this, more of that. Want, want, want. Comparisons drive wants, needs, and desires.

Be content with what you have. Practice living with less. Give away stuff instead of accumulating stuff.

Lesson from Less #6. Comparisons are ruthless.

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Lessons from Less started as a small sigh and a simple project experimenting with the ideas of Yes + No, More + Less.  To read the entire list, check out the category Lessons from Less.

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