Hard to pinpoint where it all began, but somewhere in human history, people began comparing themselves to one another. To make matters worse, society assigned hierarchical values to these comparisons. They invented terms, like “upper or ruling class, working-class and lower class” to designate a person’s importance in society.
As societies grew, they used these comparisons within their structure to define who would rule, where people would live according to their status, and who was to be sacrificed to the gods. Different customs divided cultures, and tribes emerged separate from one other. Differences in beliefs justified wars between tribes. Wars gave the victors permission to murder, rape, appropriate property and enslave the vanquished.
More harm than good has come from assigning value to others
Although acknowledging differences is important, for example, it is essential to decipher the difference between an engineer and a biologist, it is our tendency to give one more value than the other that causes harm.
You can see this in every aspect of our society. The most telling example of this is how prospective employers ask in an application for people to identify race, gender, sexual preference, religion, origin, or marital status. Each one of these designations’ triggers preconceived notions from the person viewing the information.
Often these designations promote negative value. We well know that women get paid less than men for no clear reason other than because of their gender. You would have to live in caves to not know of the unfairness being waged against the LBGT community. We designate immigrants as illegal and persecute them. Racism is still alive and well.
Other ways we compare
What comes to mind when you hear these terms; management, laborers, blue-collar jobs, working-class, Ivy League schools, elites, rednecks, rural, urban, the one percent, government worker, private sector, etc. ? It is not the labeling itself that is wrong; it is the values we attach to them. Some of these labels connote greater respect while others promote disdain. By assigning terms to people, we create the illusion that some are more valuable than others. Just think about how many decisions we make in our lives based on this arbitrary system somebody created long ago.
It is also important to note that we use this very system to lessen our own value. According to this material standard based on wealth, titles and status, we will always find someone “better” than us. This keeps us believing we are never good enough because, no matter what we do, we will never be the best. The most consistent behavior I see in people I know is how they approach the world believing they are not good enough nor worthy of love and respect. It is as though we have accepted that it is proper to lower our value.
The truth of our existence
The problem with comparing is that it denies the most important truths about our existence; a Higher Power created us with intention; we are not accidents; everyone has a purpose that our planet needs; no purpose is more important than another.
Keep this in mind today as you look at all the surrounding people. We can make a greater world if we view everyone, including ourselves, as has having the same vital importance as everyone else. Imagine a world where we are all valued for what we can contribute and where we give honor to every life journey. Creating this begins with you by giving the real value our Higher Power has in mind for all of us. Stop measuring and assigning importance to yourself and everyone else based on the world’s external values.
As always, wishing you a life filled with hope, love, and serenity.
Previously published here and reprinted with the author’s permission.
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