Comparing Ourselves


We do it every day.  Most of the time it’s the only way we can tell the difference between two things.  What we think is orange may actually be burnt orange.  What we think is cold might actually be warm when compared to a chilly winter.

And just like “things” we often compare ourselves.

Comparisons are how most of us decide who we are; it’s what we’ve been taught.  If it weren’t for the ability to compare we’d all just be, human.  There are just too many differences, uniqueness’s, to even try to sort out.  Yet we often do just that.

I first realized what comparing does this summer when I thought I was looking really tan.  Most tan I’d ever been.  Then I was shoulder to shoulder with a friend and said, “Compared to you I’m pale!”  It struck me, why do I have to be compared to her?

Well comparing is something we naturally do.  Lucky for me, I understood that it was all in comparison.  A lot of people, mostly women, don’t completely realize what they are doing when they look at others and then at themselves.  They just say, “I’m pale!” or “I’m fat,” or “I’m stupid.”

Most of the time we compare ourselves to what is normal.  Or what we think, the media thinks, or our peers think is normal.  But when asked, no one can really say what’s normal.  They might be able to tell you that the average weight of a North American is 178 pounds or that the majority of people in the world have brown eyes but what does this tell us about ourselves?

Nothing.  We should be able to take these things for what they are.  Facts.  The fact is: if you are obese you run a greater risk for diabetes and high cholesterol (among other things) but your weight has nothing to do with your beauty or worth.  Those things have no “norm.”

Without comparisons we would just be us.  Without comparisons we wouldn’t have to explain ourselves.  We wouldn’t even understand comparisons.  We wouldn’t label ourselves, black, white, tall, or short—in fact, those differences wouldn’t even matter.

At the very core of every human is the thing we all have in common, we’re all just doing our best.  We are living the best way we know how.  And, without comparisons to a “normal” that no one can define, then doing our best is enough.  And hey, if we’re talking normal or average… the normal American is a woman.  So what does that say about all the Americans out there with the Y chromosome?

Apples and oranges, I tell ya…

Danielle Clark

About Danielle Clark

I am 28 years old and for 5 years out of college I played basketball for a living. I was a professional basketball player in Europe so I spent most of my years there and came back to Maine for summers and a couple weeks at Christmas time. I thought my years there would open my eyes to what I want to be when I "grow up." That didn't happen. I have discovered, however, that I just have to try something. Just do things and toss myself into them. I have currently tossed myself into being a college basketball assistant coach and one on one reading tutor. I grew up in Corinna, Maine and have been a resident Mainer. I love sports, reading, writing, cooking, baking, watching movies... everything. I have lots of hobbies and not enough time in the day!