One day, I was on Pinterest and came across this quote for the first time:
A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.
Though simple, it is profound.
We need to be flowers too. We need to grow into our peak and potential, without drawing comparison or inciting petty competition to the person beside us. And while competition and comparison can be healthy—otherwise we wouldn't have a standard in which to improve upon—it can also lead to destruction.
Dita Von Teese has also famously and inspirationally said, "You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there's still going to be somebody who hates peaches."
Unfortunately so, she's right. You can be the absolute best, and there will still be someone somewhere who won't accept that.
So why compare when there can't be a comparison made?
If you really think about it, comparisons are based off of personal preferences, so there cannot be comparison when the opinion is just that—an opinion. It is subjective, not fact.
So what is there to do? Focus on yourself and don't compare.
No two people are the same, yet we measure ourselves to those around us. So if my eyes are brown, but hers are green does that make me "less than?" No. The question isn't, "Is she prettier than me?" The truth is, "We're both pretty."
Another thing that comes with comparison, is how society simultaneously struggles with building each other up and listening. Instead of trying to sympathize or empathize with someone, it becomes a competition of who can have the hardest week or the heaviest workload. Rather than complimenting someone, we tear them down or desperately search for a flaw.
Instead of comparison leading to competition, maybe we should practice comparison leading to confidence and compliments. It can be fine to measure yourself to someone else, so long as you let it inspire you, not control you.
And honestly, this isn't easy. I still fail and fall short of this expectation of optimism, but I do recognize clear cases where I don't let the comparison get to me—even when other people are doing the comparing. Instead of wasting my time and energy on an opinion, I focus on myself to be the best I can be, for me.
So don't compete with the person next to you, but rather, bloom.