The Light of Comparison and Relationships

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

Further Reading:
Making a relationship About True Love
Comparing Myself to Others
Seeking Connection and True Relationships
Jealousy

 

1,433 thoughts on “The Light of Comparison and Relationships

  1. When we stop and consider that ‘anything less than a truly open and loving relationship between two people should be seen as abusive.’ Then we know how far we have walked away from the truth and love we know. We need to set love as our foundation and not accept less as being ok as not only do we suffer as a result but also everyone else does as well.

  2. The “outing” of abuse in its many forms is the path of love. It is a love grander and nothing like the romantic love we have been taught about. It offers a development of self-care that leads to love, and in that configuration, abuse is seen more and more fully.

  3. Anything less than a truly open and loving relationship between two people should be seen as abusive. This should be a recurring topic to talk about with each other, within relationships and particularly with ourselves. It is saying no to any sort of abuse, ‘big’ or ‘small’, and in fact yes to love. The ‘saying no to abuse’ is a clear statement to: I don’t go for less as we are love which should be expressed in all areas of our lives,

  4. “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?”

    This is a cracker of a question Adam. We can get on our high-horses about a certain topic and go on a moral crusade, but if you have the honesty to look at this question you pose, and see where you might be doing the same on a lesser and much reduced scale, I feel quite often the answer would be yes, we do do that. We can be all sitting at that table, just some maybe taking up a larger portion but our feet are still under the same table.

  5. When we use evil as a comparison in how well we are doing in our relationships it sets the standard extremely low. There should be absolutely no comparison with evil for it needs to be called out for exactly what it is. And whether different levels of abuse … it is still abuse. It is shocking to see just how many couples can put each other down and how many can abuse their partners in verbally bullying them or constantly putting them down. However if we start to use the example of the Benhayon family, and a growing number of other families, as the litmus test for our relationships – this instead offers us at the very least, a level of decency where we should be with everyone. What I am currently seeing is how our relationships need to constantly be refined to the ‘what next’ step in deepening and appreciating them and can feel even though I would consider myself an open person with people just how much I still shut people out .. which is a level of abuse.

  6. There are so many variances on abuse, such subtle ways that it can be lived. For me, in my experience, being able to see abuse is coming from standards that are increasing in their love towards people. Once these are set, there is very little that can missed.

  7. When we compare love to hate – we settle for less – comparison is a cushion of comfort that stops us knowing the truth of love rather than its counter.

    1. Very true and well said, comparison brings in the sense of bettering. ie. this is not as bad or extreme as that so it is ok but the reality is it may still be far from and void of love. When we come from love then anything less stands out for the lack of love that it is.

  8. Comparison makes our world grey. Intead of looking at the marker of truth, we look at the standard of lesser truth and take that to pacify ourselves we actually have taken great steps or are doing well. That goes for relationships but actually for everything in life. It is ultimate weapon to block our evolution.

  9. Wow Adam what an article. It hit me in the face: yes I have been doing that constantly in relationships but also in work, I would say in life. Saying I am, we are doing well compared to where I was, for example, a year ago. Yes, I have made great steps in many ways, but is the good compared to the bad, or less not relating it to what is could be. Wake up call.

    1. I agree Willem it is a big wake up call and essentially brings focus to what are we calling ‘good’ is it an absence of not feeling bad, ie an opposing end of the spectrum or is it from a basis of love on a completely different scale with no reference or measure.

  10. So true – we want to normalize the off-ness we can actually sniff in and around our own choices by looking around and see how many others might be choosing the same/similar, or worse – and if anyone dares to show the truth that would expose our complacency, how dare they, they would be the ones to be crucified.

  11. Comparison is so harmful in the subtlest of comments. We have become a society that ignores these but in the long run what harm are we choosing to fuel.

  12. again, I am touched by this blog and its subject. For it shows us the evil of comparison and it unmasks the mechanics of how comparison plays out and has its detrimental effect.

  13. Comparison makes space for a normal way of living that should never have been normal. A way that is much less than living with the joy we all deserve.

  14. Deep down we do know what is true and when we are living less than that. Justifying it with someone else doing something worse is not changing the fact, we are only fooling ourselves.

  15. I really relate to what you share Adam. I have been one who is gentle and very nice in relationships but I have equally been pleasing and pandering, keeping the peace in many ways and not asking others to evolve. Any arrangement which is in truth a relationship that is based on an agreement to not evolve is abuse. Full stop.

  16. The scenario you have described here Adam can really be extrapolated to virtually every relationship we have in our lives, where we settle for and accept a superficial connection and one that never challenges us or asks us to evolve and learn from each other, but is totally OK with mere ‘small talk’ about the weather, sports, politics, etc. as long as nobody is actually getting physically hurt. I for one know that living like that with no deeper connection now feels pointless and will never bring any joy or settlement to my body.

  17. Comparison is deadly, because while we look at another and think they have more we are not appreciating or cherishing what we have, and while we look at another and think they have less we are judging and condemning another human being. Another important thing to consider is that while we are comparing we are not only damaging ourselves and others we are also missing the big picture of what is really going on, and what our lives are offering us on a bigger scale.

  18. How great to expose the demons of good that, if we comply, keep us in the illusion, glamour and emotional arena of life.

  19. We always look at the extremes as a way to judge our behaviour and to assess if we are doing ok – therefore, we must be a good wife or good husband, mother, father or parent and any other role we adopt.

  20. This is such a powerful piece Adam and a topic that certainly needs to be exposed, for too many settle and turn a blind eye to the many hidden ‘evils’ and to the comparisons we accept in life as totally ‘normal’.

  21. When we compare it is a way to excuse oneself of responsibility as by doing so one looks outside of oneself and not at one’s own actions.

  22. When we compare we make a judgment, when we judge we are making something or someone lesser or greater than another and when do this we incite competition and separatism.

  23. When I look around me at the relationships of others I see so much compromise playing out. In the past I would have considered that normal as compromise was what I had come to believe was essential to make a relationship work, and so naturally that is what I did in my relationships. Today I can see that with that compromise often came resentment, frustration and a definite feeling of lack of power, all emotions that were so destructive and affected the relationship on a day to day basis. Compromise is now something that I choose not to do and if I feel even close to considering it, I can feel the horribleness of it instantly in my body, and I am stopped in my tracks.

  24. ‘Comparison leads to compromise. Compromise leads to the acceptance of something that is less…’ – so huge and spot on – when we compare we do not take responsibility for our part because we look at what is better or what is worse. This truly exposes how we can blame the state of society to justify our actions and a lack of love and equality. But what if we were able to be the reflection of true love in relationships and in the world. We could not compare – we would be living based on a relationship with truth and evolution.

  25. Adam, this is such a wonderfully exposing blog and I love the fact that you asked us to consider whether someone who is quiet and keeps the peace with their partner might be just as abusive as someone who is yelling and screaming. This definitely puts a new slant on what abuse is and that wanting things to be “better” rather than true is abuse.

  26. Thank you Adam for telling it like it is, when we compare our experience with another’s experience which is more extreme than ours, leaving us to feel we are better than, we can then justify our not so noticeable abusive behaviour.

  27. Comparison is such a killer and destroyer of our relationships not only with others but also with ourselves. It means we never feel enough because there is always something or something outside of ourselves we can compare ourselves with. The more we simply appreciate ourselves the more joy we naturally feel within ourselves and everyone else. Then there is no need to compromise as how can you compromise when you are being the love that you are?

    1. I agree Kim, ‘the true evil of ‘good’. How easy is it for us to get caught up in it and also the ‘right’ as well – the words come so laiden they discount the love we are and rather get us to conform to a set of rules and ideals outside of us without any regard for truth.

  28. “Comparison leads to compromise…Comparison makes the world grey. Edges are no longer crisp, and clarity is lost in a haze of moral ambiguity.” Love what you share here Adam. Truth is razor sharp = it is, or it is not. So true that comparison mades it a bit blurry and fogs up the truth, which we can use as an excuse to not live our/the truth.

  29. We may on the surface of life use our eyes to compare different pictures and use the comparison as fuel for compromise but in our inner-most there is always the call back to honour what we know from our whole body to be the actual truth.

  30. Comparison requires the creation of a millions measures to understand what is good, better or best. The alternative is to simply feel life. No need for judgement just responding to what each cell knows is Love. Thank you Adam for providing this zoomed out view of our lives.

  31. I feel the statement that anything less than open and loving relationship is abuse is challenging for men and women. As sometimes discussed at women’s groups, we can appear to be the ‘gentler sex’ but women can be quite hard, controlling and manipulative, which is far from loving or open! I feel we have slightly different issues but are on a pretty level playing field when it comes to what we allow to come between us in any relationships.

  32. Wow such a profound read Adam, on so many levels you are challenging everything that society promotes! In my experience I often walk away from those that push my buttons rather than turn up and get uncomfortable and grow!

  33. Beautiful and so clearly expressed. It is that what we know is love that we need to live, not a condemned version of what we have chosen to not live. It is clever how we can control and pretend something to be acceptable that is not actually love.

    1. “It is that what we know is love that we need to live, not a condemned version of what we have chosen to not live.” Very eloquently put, choosing to live what we all know love to be is a fundamental key to eliminating compromise and comparison from our lives.

  34. When we make comparisons with the extremes of abuse we fail to be aware of the lesser abuse all around us but abuse is abuse. A small amount of poison is still poison.

    1. Yes that is super clear with what you share Mary, I wasn’t quite getting it but of course if we compare with violent abuse our silent rages or angry outburst seem loving or even the comfortable getting on when in truth it has no part in love.

  35. Discovering the hidden evil in ‘good’ is a turning point in one’s life; comparison is debunked and compromise no longer a valid option. Liberation from a blinkered existence and the ever-expanding vastness of the all are what counts.

  36. This article is profound and asks me consider what I have settled for and what is possible when I make life about love and connection rather than doing ‘better’.

  37. Comparison is like the opposite of the equality we all know so well from our essence. So why, if we know equality so well, do we have fallen for the separateness comparison brings in its many disguises that in turn, makes it sometimes difficult to discover?

  38. Comparison in any of our relationships is hugely damaging. Comparison eats away at our relationships like a disease, it spreads easily, it is contagious and it can be difficult to get rid of. I find, with a huge daily dose of appreciation, love and truth, comparison cannot exist, grow or fester.

  39. I was participating in a group discussion recently and then today reading your blog Adam supported me to understand the discussion at a deeper level that
    “Comparison leads to compromise. Compromise leads to the acceptance of something that is less”
    And it is glaringly obvious that we have accepted something less as this we think gives us a ‘comfortable’ life.

  40. 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?” Being “good” does not make us loving and wise human beings, all it does is make us feel like we fit in and in fitting in we avoid asking the deeper questions.

  41. “Anything less than a truly open and loving relationship between two people should be seen as abusive”. Although this may seem like a stretch for most of us just struggling to get on with people, it is important to have this as a marker of what we are truly capable of in relationship. It stops us for settling for comfort, meeting needs or having a suitable arrangement and ask us to go deeper with our love for ourselves and other people.

  42. By exposing the sliding scale you ask some big questions Adam… not least of which is am I happy to sit somewhere on that ladder and judge those below me, while grabbing the shirt tails of those above so I might progress? Or do I stand back from the ladder altogether and notice that none of it is really about love…….

  43. And why should we not consider anything other than love, honor and respect in relationship as abuse. We all deserve to be treated and live with the utmost love, none greater or less, but equally so in absoluteness, as this is the quality that defines and represents who we all are in essence, as such is our true and natural expression. It is in love that we truly thrive and come to life, realising our full potential and it is through love that we evolve. As such anything less than love, subtle or otherwise, is an abuse to who we are and an abuse to living the quality that we are rightfully here to live, together. When love is the marker of what is true and what is not, comparison does not even get a look in.

  44. Just how much do we give in to a relationship that is ok and ticks the boxes? All the while feeling from deep within that we are missing living with a deep connection with another. A way of being in relationship that we know inside out, yet so many give up on ever living.

    1. Very true Leigh. In it seems that me that most people on the planet don’t even have a truly loving relationship with themselves. What gorgeousness we are missing out on.

      1. Oh so much gorgeousness. There is nothing I have lived before that comes close to feeling as amazing, tender, fun, joyful, light and playful as a loving relationship with myself. What is most beautiful, is that living this with myself means I live it with others and my relationships are becoming more true, respectful and understanding.

  45. “What demon possessed me that I behaved so well?” – I love this quote from Thoreau, asking us to consider who decides what ‘well’ looks like, and whether we will conform to being a ‘good person’ or be honest and challenge what isn’t true when needed.

    1. ‘Comparison leads to compromise’… yes, comparison reduces us all to less than who we are, and often allows unacceptable behaviour to be tolerated, and perpetuated. The antidote? Building a connection with our bodies, so we understand what we’re feeling and what those feelings relate to. Being real, honest and raw about how we feel about what’s going on around us is a great place to start.

  46. Truth is only lived when one can see the truth of themselves in it. When one lives ‘good’ there is no reflection, just a picture of expectations and desires. Thanks for sharing Adam.

  47. When we compare our relationships with that of others we are using pictures and does mine match theirs? Problem is we miss out on feeling truth. A relationship may not look the part but energetically it may be perfect for what we need in the moment to learn from or it can look amazing but we remain stuck and retard ourselves.

  48. Beautiful Adam, when we don’t have compassion we do not have difference and so there is no separation or individuality between us. One-ness. As Serge Benhayon has presented to us before — we are never ever meant to be individual as come from One Soul.

    1. I love what you’ve shared Danna, this is very true and deeply inspiring. This means when we live as one with ourselves and others, there is no room for comparison to creep in.

  49. When we use comparison we are effectively saying what I have is just fine and we’re justifying (even if only to ourselves). We are not being truthful and we are not having the relationship we know we could have either with ourselves or those around us. We’ve capped our relationship into the current comfort and we use comparison without another as a useful diversion to not look deeper and be the truth of who we are.

  50. “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.”
    This is why I think there is so much “NEWS” watching. It’s like we look out into the world and see all the extremes of abuse and that distracts us from seeing and feeling the more subtle forms going on in our own homes. We need to look with more honesty and take more responsibility.

    1. Great point Irena. The sensational headlines get the most hits because most use them to make their own choices seem ‘better’. Meanwhile we miss out on the real news and the things we need to know so we can get out of this mess together.

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