Comparison: A four letter word! – well it is but uses 10 letters to express itself.. The destroyer of human potential.
Our scriptures – the Gita, the vendata etc all talk about the potential of Human beings as unlimited – “Sarv gun sammpan” is how everyone is born. Then how come everyone starts to think about themselves as less – and runs in this never ending race of proving themselves to be better than the other. If not all then better than some.
The game starts with a small comparison which parents make with my sibling – on my effectiveness and speed of eating, getting ready, following instructions, studying, responding etc. Alas there is no measurement of human potential and we as humans are obsessed with measurements. Everything around us has to be measured. So in order to measure individual’s potentials we have build measures – they may not be direct and accurate measures of potential but then they provide us with something to hold on to in this uncertain world. So a few measures which get build around to measure potential of a human being (be it a child or an adult) are
What do we measure in a child? A few but prominent measures
· Marks – how much is he/she scoring in the subjects we decided to teach them
· How much time do the take to finish their meals
· How much time to they take to get ready, finish their homework, assignments,
· How they talk to elders etc..
· How they meet the norms set by the society etc.
The above are the elders attempt (parents, teachers and other elders) to gauge a child’s potential, their ability to “do well” in the future and be happy. Since there is no “thermometer” to measure the exact state of these abilities – where do they sand in comparison with other children their age or where were the parents at their age becomes the only way to measure my potential.
What do we measure in an adult? A few but prominent measures
· What position is he/she in their career – designation
· What kind of money do they earn
· The size and make of their house, car, TV, mobile phone
· The brand of clothes they wear
· Where and how often do they eat out, travel, stay, drink
· How good they look
The above are somewhere pseudo measures of happiness! An indicative measure of how happy a person is. The issue is that there is no absolute measure of any of the above – so the way out is a comparative measure!
A person is happy with his resources (salary, position, car, house etc) till the time in his circle of society he/she is in comparison better than the most if not all the people.
What are we ultimately saying – my happiness is a factor of ONLY the happiness of other around me! Now think these measures are destroying the self esteem, self confidence, creativity, ability to venture out and take risks not only in a child but in every human being. What it brings in return is Stress (loads of it), conformity – the need to fit it, which comes from the continuous need to prove oneself better than the other. And in the process kills the basic nature of compassion and love of a human being.
As parents we have a choice – a choice to believe in our child – in his individuality, in his unlimited potential (albeit immeasurable – because its limitless – it can’t be measured) or throw them into this never ending swirl of comparisons – killing their spirit so that they fit in the norms we have been killing ourselves in.
Inviting you to break this vicious cycle and create a no-limit world of happiness and expression for each child.