There is an irony in the way that we both look to others to validate all of our choices, and now use social proof as a proxy for trustworthiness and the way that we compare ourselves to others and an ideal and so often find ourselves lacking. I was watching an Oprah Life Lesson video and they said that ‘comparison is an act of violence against the self’. I found that fascinating, especially given that so many of us compare ourselves so often and find ourselves lacking in so many ways. Especially how we often stack the deck against ourselves.
We compare our size, shape and ‘beauty’ to supermodels and airbrushed celebrities, our academic accomplishments against Fulbright scholars and our kindness and sociability to fictitious characters from a variety of medias. There is an impossibility in measuring up, and yet the message pervades- supposedly ‘spurring’ us to accomplishment. Somehow I feel like that is fitting, because we often forget that spurs cause pain, and horses run faster in an attempt to get away from the stimulus, not because all of a sudden they have re-discovered their intrinsic joy in running.
I feel like the current generation of 20 somethings have been told to rely on each other, and trust something only if others are doing it, and yet fall in this catch 22 that trips them up over and over when those comparisons end in finding something lacking themselves. How can we attempt to find our own intrinsic motivations when so many of our actions and perceptions are based on our reaction to the others around us and how similar, or different we are to them (especially when all of that is based in a competitive paradigm?)