I've been thinking about comparison lately. Almost every quote you read shines a negative light on comparison - "comparison is a robber of joy;" "happiness in the present is shattered with comparison of the past;" "rise above the mess of comparison". Why does comparison have to be a negative thing? Is it the act of comparing itself wrong or is it what you create from that?
Recently I was prepping to teach a yoga class with my fellow teacher trainees. I looked around the room and saw everyone practicing and challenging themselves - headstands, handstands, arm balances. I watched them with awe and admiration. Each one has his/her own strengths. Rather than thinking to myself, "why can't I do that?" or "I'll never be able to do that;" I just smiled and expressed my interest in wanting to learn. Everyone was so encouraging and generous. This is one of the reasons I love yoga. It's a non-competitive, safe environment. Each person is on his or her own journey, and is beautiful in their own light.
I later went home and began practicing headstands and arm balances. I fell more times than not and have some colorful bruises to show! And through all of the falls, I reflected on where I was this time last year. I was just beginning my yoga journey and could barely do a chatarunga (low plank) or keep up with all of the poses in a flow. Fast forward to a year later, I've completed my 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training and finally nailed Crow pose (after a year of trying)!
So when I think of comparison in this sense, I have an appreciation for how far I've come. And this is not just with yoga. I can look back at many different areas in my life and compare (with gratitude) to where I am now. With every step I take, where there is fear, there is also determination and courage.
So maybe comparison doesn't have to be a negative thing. Maybe instead it can serve as reflection for how far you've come. And at the root of that comparison, you can find appreciation, peace and love for where you are now.