In a world woven on fragile threads of societal norms and expectations, the individual stands at the crossroads between self-discovery and societal conformity. In more ways than one, he has been exploited by the fabric of society, often with shrouds so cunning and deceptive that he has had no suspicion, as is his nature, while it strips away to his core, his integrity and essence. Of the innumerable devices engineered for such exploitation, jealousy emerges as a particularly formidable weapon. It is but a device so cunningly engineered into our upbringing that its very presence is as natural as the air we breathe, yet its effects are anything but benign.
Societal Devices of Exploitation
The devices that the society uses to exploit its constituents go far beyond the economic or political manoeuvres; it penetrates right into the very fibres of our psychological and emotional well-being. The exploitation is deftly carried out with devices like jealousy and comparison, injected into us from childhood. The idea of comparison has in one form the other been championed by every society, culture, or religion and has taught us to measure man against men.
Basically, jealousy is an expression related to certain deep-rooted insecurities and fears. It is a strong basis of comparison, learned behaviour ingrained from our childhood. It sets the stage for a lifetime of discontent because we evaluate our lives compared to others. The child, like a clean slate, will imbibe these lessons of comparison, imbibing them as yardsticks of self-worth and destiny.
Ladder of Comparison
Society may also be compared to a ladder or a circular wheel where at each step each man is caught in the momentum of comparison. This endless wheel deceives us in believing in a hierarchy of structure of worth where one is always looking up to someone perceived superior or down on someone thought to be inferior. This illusory ladder taps the feeling of never being completely satisfied as true growth is not self-based but dependent on others.
The Aftermath and Living in Comparison
Living below our potential, directly proportional to comparison and jealousy have great repercussions upon our personal satisfaction and fulfilment. It cultivates an environment wherein self-worth is upon the condition of being externally validated instead of inherent value. The relentless pursuit to be greater than others diverts us from the path of self-discovery and personal development, leading to a life full of hollowness and wasted potential.
Breaking Free from Societal Contraptions
In order to break free from the chains of comparison and peer into ourselves seeking an inherent worth or a loud stillness, it means actively working to not compare ourselves with others. It means rebelling against the external barometers of success and embracing our own unique paths in life. Long before philosophers and thought leaders like Jiddu Krishnamurti popularized ultimate freedom of self from societal claws towards finding solace-ness and satisfaction within.
The secret to escape from exploitation by a controlling society with jealousy and comparison is living genuinely. Authentic living is when every person acknowledges unto himself and admits all the flaws in him to celebrate the uniqueness of his journey. In the authenticity of one’s life, the life derives contentment, fulfilment, and ecstasy. After all, by participating in the societal devices of jealousy and comparison, we are only exploiting and diminishing ourselves.
In conclusion, taking part in the societal devices of jealousy and comparison only leads to the exploitation and decrease of the individual. Only by recognizing these devices for what they are, and by choosing to live authentically, do we stand any chance at all of reclaiming our integrity, quality, and individuality. Let us, therefore, unite in embracing the beauty of being ourselves for it is within that reality lies the key towards our contentment, fulfilment, and ecstasy. This let this be a rallying point, therefore, for all members of society to abandon comparisons of whatever form as they urge on their souls so the path of self-actualization.
Resources for more reading:
- “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brené Brown: Brown explores the importance of embracing our vulnerabilities and imperfections to live a more authentic and wholehearted life. This book offers a powerful perspective on how to break free from societal expectations and find self-worth within.
- “Freedom from the Known” by Jiddu Krishnamurti: Krishnamurti delves into the limitations of societal conditioning and the importance of freeing oneself from these to discover true contentment and fulfilment. His teachings encourage introspection and the rejection of comparison.
- “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz: Ruiz presents a simple yet effective code of personal conduct learned from his Toltec ancestors. The agreements include being impeccable with your word, not taking anything personally, not making assumptions, and always doing your best. These principles guide towards personal freedom and true happiness.
- “Daring Greatly” by Brené Brown: Another groundbreaking work by Brené Brown, this book discusses how the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent, and lead. It challenges the notion of vulnerability as weakness and frames it as a path to greater authenticity and personal growth.
- “Status Anxiety” by Alain de Botton: De Botton examines the desire for status, how it shapes our identities, and the anxiety it can cause. This book offers insights into how societal expectations affect our sense of self-worth and how to overcome these pressures.
Articles and Blog Posts
- “The Disease of More” on Mark Manson’s blog: This article discusses how constantly striving for more based on societal standards can lead to dissatisfaction and unhappiness. It encourages finding contentment in what we already have.
- “Letting Go of Comparing Yourself to Others” on Zen Habits: A practical guide on how to stop the cycle of comparison and focus on your own path and progress. The blog post offers actionable tips for cultivating a mindset of gratitude and contentment.
- “The Art of Being Yourself” by Caroline McHugh at TEDxMiltonKeynesWomen (available on YouTube): Though not a traditional article or blog post, this TED talk explores the concept of authenticity and how understanding and embracing your true self is the foundation of contentment and success.
- “How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others” on Psychology Today: This article delves into the psychological aspects of comparison and provides strategies for focusing on personal growth and self-acceptance.
- “The Joy of Missing Out: Finding Balance in a Wired World” by Christina Crook: An exploration of how the digital age has amplified comparison and discontent, and how consciously disconnecting can lead to a more fulfilling life.