"What is she wearing to the party?"
"Where is he going tonight?"
"(Insert Name here) started studying for the exam a week ago, so I should probably study more."
Do you ever find yourself comparing your actions or appearance to those of your friends and peers? Me too.
Have you ever found yourself altering your unique characteristics and decisions because you feel as though your gut instincts and preferences are not as good as others or just not good enough?
We've all been there. We have all compared ourselves to another individual or another group of people. It is a human instinct to compare yourself to others.
Survival of the fittest: a natural part of evolution that has allowed us to continuously improve and enhance our capabilities to become the strong and intelligent creatures that we are today. This natural inclination is magnified on Colgate's campus - such a small, tight-knit community (that we all love) constantly draws attention to what each student is doing, wearing or saying.
Comparing yourself to your peers can be positive. It can inspire you to work harder to improve your grades as you notice your fellow classmates excelling, partake in a new hobby or activity that a friend enjoys, or expand your horizons culturally and spiritually. The beneficial aspects of comparison and emulation are truly endless.
However, there does exist a threshold point where contrast and imitation shift from a healthy and valuable virtue, to being harmful, dangerous, and highly toxic. Comparison can yield negative results when one becomes so infatuated with what others are doing that one loses sight of one's own preferences, instincts and well-being and health.
"Everyone's going to the jug tonight, I have to go too or I'm going to miss something. I have too much FOMO, fear of missing out," says the student with two midterm exams the following day.
"She ran six miles today AND went to spin class and is so skinny. I should start following her routine," says the perfectly healthy and beautiful girl.
These are just two of the very typical times where the action of comparison clearly crosses that threshold and begins to truly become perilous. Sadly, I have heard (and have even uttered myself) these exact, or very similar statements, countless times. Colgate students have a tendency to be perfectionists and conform to the crowd, leading many to take extreme measures in order to be something that they are not deep down inside, and continuously partake in activities that they think will make them better or provide them with more gratification in some way, shape or form. However, attempting to be someone you are not, or pushing yourself to extreme limits in order to fit in, is not going to make you happy or lead you to success. It is only going to make you frustrated and incredibly stressed as you crave more ways to improve yourself to be more like others, and fit into the crowd. You will lose sight of who you truly are and potentially lose on the real possibility of becoming the best version of you as you are constantly concerned with the actions and habits of those surrounding you.
You are the only one that truly knows what is best for you, mentally and physically. Just because one thing appears to be good and provides happiness for one person, does not mean it is to be the same for you. Yes, comparison can be good and can really aid you in improving some of your habits; however, remember to walk that fine line of the good and bad threshold with diligence. Without knowledge and awareness of this cloudy threshold, comparison and imitation can truly become the eighth deadly sin, as the real, the best, and the healthiest version of you begins to fade away.