Wednesday, 29 August 2012

the cost of comparison

Uncomfortable uncertainty is the space I am currently inhabiting, along with thousands of other graduates, probably...except having acquired a vocational skill which is considered to be in high demand, my expectation was that I would be instantly propelled into the working world of salaries and holiday pay. But no.

Granted it has only been a month, but fellow course mates one by one find employment, it is hard to ignore the sirens of sheer panic going off inside my head. What do they have that I don't? Who is doing better than me? Why? How can I better them? What do I have that they don't?

Comparison, is a killer...

Clearly, the boundaries of comparison are not limited to acquisition of jobs...whether it is a relationship, a house, a holiday, a 'business venture', money, a car, more friends, less friends,likeability, attractiveness, weight, hair, appetite, wardrobe, 'coolness', 'holiness', athletic ability, wit, shoe size, future prospects....EVERYTHING can be compared, it is the driving force of consumer culture.

The conclusion to comparison will either be 'I suck - strive! buy! eat nothing!', or 'I'm doing pretty well, too bad for them'. As such, as we encounter different people/images/circumstances, any sense of 'worth' becomes highly volatile, and we live in a world of uncertainty in which our aim is to show no weakness, and 'better' everyone around us.

Dwelt upon, comparison builds a wall in our relationships that prevents us from being vulnerable and honest, because we assume that others relate to us in the way that we relate to them. If we show weakness, they will be smug in the knowledge that they are more successful (and I for one, cannot STAND smugness) best to go into 'protection' mode, and not tell anyone anything about how I'm REALLY doing.

My awareness of all this is certainty more tangible when my circumstances feel crap...and I don't really have anything to lean on that confirms that I'm a doing 'alright'. The result can be 'hyper-comparison' mode, in which I clutch to something, ANYTHING, to confirm that I am valuable. Once sourced, those things become a rather pathetic 'defence' mechanism in response to feelings of failure...

...unfortunately, this kind of 'survival' mentality, that sets me up in opposition to other people, not only masks a deeper issue, but leads to superficial relationships, and results in bitterness and resentment, which inevitably destroys our ability to love one another. This rooted in a poverty spirit which says that 'there is not enough for everyone, therefore, I must strive to win'.

So in the spirit of being vulnerable, and not comparing or valuing myself on the basis of my circumstances, or the success/failures of those around me, I would like to announce that
even though I am unemployed,
and have no money...
even though I am single,
and do not know how to drive,
and I haven't been abroad in over a year,
even though I do not own a car, or a house,
and I am not, and will never be, size 8, and will always, ALWAYS have a mighty appetite for food
In the eyes of the Lord, I am amazing,
designed for success, adventure, fun
I have an fantastic future ahead of me,

That is the self indulgent truth...I do not apologise for the cringe factor

1 comment:

  1. You are brilliant Clare Cotton - no cringe factor about it! You're such a great, engaging and funny writer - it's good to see your blog again. I feel encouraged as I sit here writing my dissertation and pondering if I will ever get a job too - we're in it together! Love you! Jen x