Contribution by Isabel Hernández Negrín, Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain.
I believe that any of us would answer yes. It would be strange if I were identical to someone else. Each of us has a different body, a few character and personality traits that are different, some skills and abilities that are different, etc.
However, despite knowing this, it is quite common for us to compare ourselves with others or with some model of the moment. When I live in this way there is some slight sadness because you are rarely the best at everything that is important to you. I am not the best-looking, I do not have the best figure, I am not the most intelligent, I am not the one who sings or dances the best, I am not the best tennis player or the best employee in my business, or the most able, or the best mother or father, or many, many other things. What is more, I never will be. But our instinctive and automatic tendency is to push ourselves to be the closest we can be to our assessment of the best we can be, and from there, the best of all. This is also related to having the greatest chance of surviving and reproducing, which, ultimately, is what nature seems to urge us to do.
This natural and automatic tendency has its pros and cons. An advantage may be that it impels us to learn and to be socially acceptable. A disadvantage is the constant feeling of being at odds with ourselves that this process causes. It is as if, in the Olympics, the gold medal winners had to carry on competing the following year to retain them. We spend every day comparing ourselves anxiously to other people or to a personal benchmark against which we constantly measure ourselves.
And we are never sure of retaining the gold medal, not for a single day.
All of this is combined with the fact that we are unaware that all of this is happening to us. The comparison is automatic and unconscious and the result of it is negative feelings (jealousy, envy, etc.) and a natural insecurity and anxiety, apart from the negative thoughts with which we scourge ourselves if we lose points. All of this spiel came from the question of whether we are unique in nature. And we said yes.
In which case, would it not be better to stop comparing ourselves constantly? Would it not be healthier for us? Would it not be better for our relationships? We are so used to trying to mould our “unique” being to the models we follow, that it is difficult for us to appreciate that we are doing it constantly and that it constantly causes us unhappiness.
Now I plan to be conscious of my uniqueness, without any pride or silliness.
Unique, nothing more. Unparalleled. As I am. At peace with my figure, skills, abilities and the rest. Without striving to be something different.
Note that I do not say letting myself be, resigning myself. I say, that I am unique, I am as I am, I have what I have and there is no comparison worth making. From here onwards, I will stand up for what I believe is the right thing to do, with great passion.
But not by making comparisons. That is sick and I believe that here we are aiming to be healthy!
And what about you, are you willing?