There is a very interesting talk by Malcolm Gladwell. Talks about EICD – Elite Institution Cognitive Disorder. The link to the talk is given below, at the bottom of this article.
While the focus is on Educational Institutions, I think this approach which Malcolm Gladwell calls “Relative deprivation,” affects people across all walks of life. I personally think that this is a “disease” that comes from conditioning and is entirely the responsibility of those who instill such “comparisons” in the minds of people. And these are done starting from a very early age.
I call this disease OCCD – Obsessive Compulsive Comparison Disorder. And almost always it ends up making the person feel unhappy, unhealthy and unworthy. And furthermore does not allow the person to be content and happy. And it does not need to be!
In many cultures, especially in India, it takes on the form of the thought process that being an “Engineer” or a “Doctor” is paramount. And every other stream is less than! So much so, that people were quite surprised that I was ok with my son pursuing “Fine Arts!” My thinking on this is simple – as long as one is passionate about what they do, and to deliver “excellence” in anything they do, and work at it in an integrous manner, it really doesn’t matter.
Starting with the neighborhood people live in, to the vehicle that they own, of the clothes they wear, where they eat, and whether it is a new vehicle or a pre-owned vehicle, people let discontent and unhappiness rise, ENTIRELY due to comparisons. And it could be comparisons of physical appearance, height, weight, sporting ability and so on.
And people end up putting themselves down.
This happens in families even, when siblings are compared with one another, and this further leads to a life defining, and in most cases limiting, belief system. The other end of the “comparison” problem is the “placed on a pedestal” problem. This again, is not useful at all since any kind of comparison of this kind is fraught with problems.
And how does one, who has these already installed and operational, get over the “disease” one might ask. There are complex methods to get over such “EICD” or “Relative Deprivation” diseases – to LOVE and ACCEPT oneself EXACTLY as they are. I am reminded of a statement that one of my very first “super bosses” told me: “you are the best at what you do! You know your job the best! So, be confident and do it to the best of your ability! That’s all that is asked for!”
So, whenever one feels that they are less than another for ANY reason whatsoever, it might be useful to simply state these two affirmations:
I LOVE and ACCEPT myself EXACTLY as I am!
I am the best me I can be in EVERY MOMENT!
I wish you health and happiness!