“Have you got any regrets” … a friend of mine was asked this recently at a school reunion, after discussing her brief career as a sales assistant before becoming a full time mum. “Didn’t you ever want to get a degree?.. but don’t you regret that?” said the douche bag former classmate.
Seriously, some people really have no idea about kindess. My friend Claire (not her real name for privacy) was in tears afterwards and expressed a deep sense of hurt and shame to me the next day.
So Claire doesn’t have a degree. Who freakin cares. Except she does. She cares what people think… and it spins her out of her every day contentment and into a headspace of questioning her own worth. Thing is she’s happy being a mum and whilst she’s thought about getting a degree it’s never been an all encompassing urge. So why should she? Just to please douche bag Judgy Judy?
If I was at a school reunion I’d probably get sucked into comparison too except instead of it being about degrees (been there done than and honestly it means jack all to employers these days) it would probably be about why I’m not partnered and settled with kids. LOL and like Claire I just never had the all encompassing situation to get hitched and start breeding, although I’m sure it’s got it’s advantages.
Why do we compare? It can be an insidious force that diminishes our sense of growth and the pace that’s right for us. We need to compare to some degree, for a sense of context but rarely do we really look at these comparisons logically.
We are born into an uneven playing field; with different genes, parents, diets, family dynamics, religious faiths, illness predispositions and generally different overall circumstances. Some people are born into advantage; wealth, love and caring environment and others are born into disadvantage.
There are so many factors that make up who we are. It’s not even and it’s certainly not fair.. unless you believe in Karma. Whilst there’s a lot that similar about us, there is so much that’s different also.
So why do we compare? Why do we think we should be as good as so and so? Why does Claire feel she should have a degree like her classmates? Like she’s somehow defective if she doesn’t? We can go through the logic of all of this but still that powerful sense of comparison will continue to permeate our being at times regardless. It’s seems very deeply rooted and difficult to be truly free of comparison.
I suspect it’s because we’re conditioned to compare and compete from a young age. It’s very much part of the modern education system that we have been raised in. It’s often our default modus operandi. But I wonder what it would be like to stop comparing ourselves and start treating ourselves with the kindness and compassion we really deserve? Based on who we truly are and our own unique journey?
I watched this documentary last night on an alternative education school based on the philosophy of the late J. Krishnamurti. Similar to Steiner schools Krinshamurti schools offer a different style of education that is less about academic achievement and more about fostering learning that is right for each student. No student is forced to take an exam until they are ready and as such there is very little stress and pressure. It’s also a great environment for creativity, uniqueness and self-directed learning to thrive.
There are Krishnamurti schools in England, Switzerland and India. I could really see it taking off here in Australia also. If you watch this doco perhaps consider how we might apply the same ideas to our adult lives in our various workplaces or leisurely endeavors.