Lessons from a high school English essay

Lessons from a high school English essay

Hey readers – if you want a big fat dose of low self-esteem, envy and depression and want to do a number on your ability to trust and connect with other people, just go ahead and keep comparing yourself to other people.   And ladies if you want a real bad case of the “I’m uglies” just keep judging your own face and body to the photoshopped and airbrushed pictures of all those celebrities we so admire.

All I have to do is walk outside my front door to see someone who has “better” landscaping than I do and “nicer” cars in their driveway.  When I drive to work each day I pass lots of houses “grander” than mine.  And trust me at the gym, there are lots of younger girls who are “prettier” and “fitter” than I am.  And guess what, I don’t care anymore – well except for the fitter girls at the gym.  Just kidding!

Comparing seems to be part of our DNA.   What purpose it serves still baffles me – but I know that there are companies out there that just love that we do it.  They make millions on our desire to “keep up with the Joneses”.  We will max out are credit cards, become “house poor” or “car poor” and stand for hours (or days) outside a store to get the latest and greatest phone.

I remember in high school having to write essays on some of the most boring novels I ever read (and I was and still am an avid reader).  One type of essay question required me to compare and contrast two characters.  To get an “A”  you had to document similarities (compare) and explain differences (contrast).

I looked up compare at dictionary.com and here is the definition: ” to examine (two or more objects, ideas, people, etc.) in order to note similarities and differences”.  Merriam Webster adds “or in order to decide which one is better”.  Why don’t we forget that part and just look at similarities – see what we have in common with someone else so that we can connect rather than compete – and our differences – to see what we might be able to learn from the other person.  Do we really need to make a judgement about better or worse?  

I am always willing to learn or be inspired by someone else.  One of these days I’m going to ask that neighbor how she grows such pretty flowers.  I watch those fitter folk at the gym to get new ideas for exercises.  I share recipes with others who like to cook and explore new ingredients and cuisines. I can acknowledge someone’s special talent or ability without making a negative judgment about myself.



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