The Comparison Trap
"I handle fame by not being famous. I'm not famous to me." - Bob Marley
It's a strange phenomenon - the desire to be famous, to be a celebrity. It's challenging enough to just be ourselves ordinarily, but to combine that challenge with the relentless pursuit of attention, and the scrutiny that attention brings - well that feels like a heavy burden to want to bring on yourself.
Many of the icons we most admire, the ones whose skills, talents and attributes seem otherworldly - they pursued their passion primarily, and fame came as a result of that passion. These people are often the ones most uncomfortable with their fame, as it wasn't their primary goal. They learn to accept it as a necessary evil in their drive to follow their passions and hone their craft.
There are others though who chase a celebrity status, feeling it might just be the answer to their problems. These people are often the ones with the biggest emotional and spiritual void in the first place, misguidedly believing that the scant attention of other people will fill that hole and complete their life. This is rarely the case, and the story often doesn't end well.
People want the recognition and attention of others, I get that, it's kind of inbuilt in us - this need to be acknowledged. It starts at birth when we immediately crave the attention of our parents, and this extends out once we get to school. Before long we learn to compare ourselves to others, and more often than not we use the results of those comparisons to belittle ourselves. There is always someone more talented, cleverer, prettier, stronger than you - but that doesn't mean you don't have a set of attributes and skills distinctly unique to you.
We are so quick to dismiss ourselves and see our shortcomings. We look in the mirror and we don't like what we see on the outside. And inside, we are often overwhelmed by our own thoughts, feelings and emotions. So we seek ways to change that. We can change the body in various ways these days; gyms, personal trainers or surgery and makeovers. We can change our inner states relatively easily too; food, alcohol, drugs, gambling. There are an abundance of opportunities to indulge in the desire to be or feel like somebody else, often anybody but yourself.
That's the great and tragic irony. We have been gifted the greatest miracle in the Universe - a body, heart and mind that actually works. It pumps blood all by itself, breathes all by itself. It has it's own magical inner chemist that works naturally to bring about healing and balance. We can see, hear, touch, smell, think and feel. Furthermore we have the intelligence and capabilities to understand what's going on and share that experience with other people through the unbelievable powers of language and communication. There is a 1 in 4 trillion percent chance of your existence having happened in the first place, and odds close to that keeping you alive each day.
And yet, that's still not good enough for most of us. We play god. We say 'yeah, yeah I get that, the body is a miracle, life is precious BUT....'
It's that BUT that kills everything. It kills your joy, your happiness, your creativity. That 'but' is going to lead to a 'can I have a smaller nose?' 'can I have more money?' 'but can I have a smaller butt'.
Try living with yourself properly for even one day.
Be curious about what it feels like to be in your body for one day. No judgement, just curiosity, as if you are looking through a microscope for an experiment. What does it feel like to be you? What are the sensations, the feelings, the thoughts? What are the hurts, the pains, the gripes, the issues? What are the joys, the wins, the magic moments?
This is you.
Nobody else can be that.