Recently I read a blog called “A Sharing for Men About Women.” It was an eye-opening blog for it started to challenge how we should look to define abuse in relationships.
In short, this blog was asking us to consider that anything less than a truly open and loving relationship between two people should be seen as abusive.
This in itself is a provocative statement, and there would be many – especially men who are not ‘violent’ towards their partners – who would take issue with this extreme proclamation, citing the fact that when compared to the ugliness of domestic violence, their relationship is indeed quite healthy. And from where they stand, they would be telling the truth – to a point.
But let us put aside such reactions for a second and ask what it is that this statement is really asking us to consider. For underneath its foray into the world of relationships, what this is really pointing to is the propensity of society to use the extremes of human experiences as the litmus test by which all else is judged. As human beings we like to look out at all that we consider as evil in society, and so long as our life compares well to such darkness, we do not question whether or not what we have is actually true.
The man who yells at his wife but does not hit her does not consider himself to be abusive by comparison. The man who controls and dominates the relationship by using his “superior knowledge and intellect” to suppress his partner’s voice will never admit that he has been abusive whilst he can hear the man next door yell and lose his temper. And, to add a dash of controversy to the mix, I am sure that we would never consider by light of such examples that the man who is quiet and acquiescent to all of his partner’s demands is actually living in a mutually abusive relationship.
In the world of comparison, all of these men would have a right to say that they are not abusive. Even the man who hits his wife can argue he has not murdered or raped her or broken any bones. What has she to complain about? She is alive and only has bruises that will in time heal. Whilst this may seem preposterous, it is how some men think, or at least behave. And who is the great moral crusader to argue, when they have used the same barometer of comparison to measure the quality of their own life?
Herein lies the ludicrousness of the way we measure our existence, for it is by such a mechanism that we create our own perception of what is, when at least seen through the eyes of our own divinity, black and white.
Comparison leads to compromise. Compromise leads to the acceptance of something that is less, and before long truth not only gets diluted, it no longer even appears on the horizon of our awareness. Comparison makes the world grey. Edges are no longer crisp, and clarity is lost in a haze of moral ambiguity.
Thus today, when we end up in the situation where we consider a relationship where both parties get on and tolerate each other’s differences, don’t argue or wage war on each other and are generally comfortable with each other, to be one that is not just acceptable… we consider it to “be” loving when by essence it falls well short of the forever expressive nature of what true love actually entails.
And as I write this, I know that there will be those who will read this statement and say – I have that. I have love in my life. And maybe you do. But how do we know, especially when we have used the evil of comparison as the corrupt mechanism by which we gauge all of life? How do we know that we have not just found a person who does not push our buttons, who by silent agreement does not challenge our preconceived notion of what we want the world to be? In other words, how do we know we have found a relationship of love, and not just one of mutual convenience that serves to keep us blind to the true nature of our own existence?
As Henry Thoreau once controversially wrote, “The greater part of what my neighbours call good, I believe in my Soul to be bad, and if I repent of anything, it is very likely to be my good behaviour. What demon possessed me that I behaved so well?”
What was he talking about? He was talking about comparison.
By Adam Warburton
Making a relationship About True Love
Comparing Myself to Others
Seeking Connection and True Relationships
1,480 thoughts on “The Light of Comparison and Relationships”
The greatest gift we can give ourselves in life is to stay open and willing to ponder on what is presented. What we know to be true and of love, we hold dear, and what we know falls outside of this we simply let go of and move on.
In society we have a plethora of scales to measure up to and this keeps us busy and distracted to think that as long as we measure up to these scales then all is well. But meanwhile the Soul does not compare and does not measure, it simply gets on with life and love and takes each moment for what it is with no other factors allowed to complicate and interfere.
A very refreshing read indeed – When we compare there is always those who are ‘worse off’ and so this can justify our existence. But why focus on existence when we can have a life lived in truth?
Comparison could be used in a lot of ways, for example I could look back over my life and compare my past to now and see I am doing very well, and as a result sink into comfort instead of respond to the call to continue to grow.
Wise words Melinda – comparison is our downfall in so many ways!
Truth gets diluted, and so lost with comparison, ‘Comparison leads to compromise. Compromise leads to the acceptance of something that is less, and before long truth not only gets diluted, it no longer even appears on the horizon of our awareness.’
“In other words, how do we know we have found a relationship of love, and not just one of mutual convenience that serves to keep us blind to the true nature of our own existence?” Very direct and a great question to ask, and one that applies to all relationships. There are so few relationships that are actually based on love, not emotional love, but the love that our soul is, so as far as role models go there are not many to set the standard and inspire us into something greater. This in itself holds great purpose to develop my own relationships.
Adam the other word to use here is Standards, we are lowering the standards of our society so quickly and they are seemingly being accepted without question. I wonder where it will lead us in the end. It’s as though we are disconnecting to reality and making it whatever we want it to be, not what it is in truth.
“How do we know that we have not just found a person who does not push our buttons, who by silent agreement does not challenge our preconceived notion of what we want the world to be?” ah Adam, you have described how my relationship with my partner used to be in a nutshell. A silent agreement that not only would we not push each other’s buttons but also that we wouldn’t lift each other up to our highest potential either. It was a relationship built purely on keeping the other as well as ourselves in comfort. After waking up to what was really going on we have now committed to being as truthful as possible with one another and also committed to becoming more intimate with one another, true intimacy having previously not been in our relationship at all.
Alexis these last few weeks it has been interesting to observe just how much people want everything to stay the same they don’t want anyone to rock the boat of comfort so that we don’t as you say reach our highest potential. I have always known it but to actually feel it in my body this makes a difference it’s as though I have stepped back enough so that I can allow myself some space to realise the game and the part I have been playing up until now.
There is no truth in comparison as our image of ourselves is completely arbitrary and our impression of another is also arbitrary and so we are trying to compare two things that are in truth unknowns and two unknowns that are also in a constant state of energetic movement. It actually is quite non-sensical when you really think about it.
Comparing our relationships or anything for that matter to something that is ‘worse’ than ours is a very misleading thing to do and can trick us into believing that what we have or are doing is ok. I used to think that because my partner and I didn’t argue and because, compared to most couples we got on in a way that was relatively harmonious that we had a great relationship. It came as quite a shock to realise that this actually wasn’t the case at all and that our relationship lacked both truth and true intimacy.
It may be misleading but it is something we do all the time, for example, I have a friend who has been really struggling with a health issue then someone close to them became ill with cancer and in comparison my friend decided what they had was nothing to worry about whereas cancer is life threatening. I feel they have let themselves off the ‘hook’ so to say because now there is no opportunity to understand their own health problem by dismissing themselves in the comparison of another.
You have hit the nail on the head because we are always benchmarking our behaviour on what we see in others. In fact the same would go for our health, and we are encouraged to say “well at least I haven’t got xxx” or “what I am going through is not as bad as xxx”. If we stop benchmarking against another and consider from the inside if we are at ease with who we are, how we engage in relationship and what we do, then we open up the door to more honesty from which to have the conversation.
You have nailed it too Lucy – our health and wellbeing is no longer measured by our true health, but by the absence of disease or by the absence of more severe disease that what we have. This is certainly not a true measure of health and vitality.
What we accept is ‘normal’ is actually very far from ‘normal,’ we have created a false reality of life and live a lie.
‘In short, this blog was asking us to consider that anything less than a truly open and loving relationship between two people should be seen as abusive.’ This takes us to a whole new level in terms of what is and what isn’t acceptable in a relationship. Do we have the self worth and self love to say no to anything that is other than open and loving? I know in the past I would have accepted a lot less as there wasn’t too much of a foundation of self worth. However, if that foundation is present there is no need to be in a relationship – simply a choice to be in one, which is very different. Much easier to say no to any form of abuse, no matter how seemingly small when the first and foremost loving relationship is with yourself.
When we ‘tolerate’ each other we do not see the other as part of us.
“So called Good” is often more evil then ‘bad’
Submitting to ‘the lesser of two evils’ takes us down the slippery slope of abuse.
What we accept as normal in the world today, is so far removed from who we naturally are, what we can feel when we come back to our innate sensitivity and has no relationship to comparing with another. Good, bad, indifference… how about just simply being responsive to what we feel.
When we compare any ill behaviours with the more extreme forms of abusive and use justification to not take responsibility for our choices, then we can easily blind ourselves from seeing abuse in our life and therefore, easily accept abuse as the norm. But when we are willing to see abuse in all its varying forms and take responsibility, we are more able to see abuse for what it is. For example, the slightest change in someone’s tone expressed void of love is already abuse, or someone slamming the door, etc. Being willing to expose abuse is a sign we are also willing to embrace more love.
Yes, the signs are likely to be very minor but because they are not extreme we brush them off till they are not minor anymore and we have to unpeel ‘where it all went wrong’.
We know from the moment we hear the car pull up in the drive what mood the person is in that steps out of the car. From the way the door bell is rung or the key is put into the lock. We can feel energy all the time the disservice we do to ourselves is that we dismiss the energy we can feel and immediately go into a reaction be that defend, withdraw, protect, Perhaps if we were to admit we do feel energy all the time and so call it out when it is abusive we wouldn’t have to unpeeled where it all went wrong.
What you show here Adam is how evil comparison is. We learn from an early age that comparison is not good and is horrible to feel, so we learn to mask it by being nice or good hoping to ignore the truth we are feeling at that moment. It is far better to be honest with ourselves and out the comparison, rather than going into a myriad of niceities and lies in an attempt to hide the comparison.
Yes, honesty is called for, being nice or good both feel horrible as well comparison.