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

 

1,501 thoughts on “The Light of Comparison and Relationships

  1. 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.

  2. “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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

    1. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. What we accept is ‘normal’ is actually very far from ‘normal,’ we have created a false reality of life and live a lie.

  7. ‘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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

    1. 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’.

  10. 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.

  11. “Comparison leads to compromise.” Yes this is something we never consider when we compare ourselves to another but the moment we compare we are no longer coming from truth but from a place that allows us to be less and accept what we know is no longer true, this is how we bastardise so many things in life.

  12. There is no limit to the amount of love and expansion on offer, so even what by normal standards is a superbly loving relationship can evolve to an even more loving relationship such that the previous level of love can feel abusive in comparison.

  13. “Comparison makes the world grey. Edges are no longer crisp, and clarity is lost in a haze of moral ambiguity.”

    So true Adam, and your blog clearly outlines why. Comparison allows humanity to get a way with a lot, even though in truth, we are not getting away with it at all.

  14. “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?” I love this quote so much because trying to be “good” is so harmful when all that is needed is for us to be real.

  15. Comparison is indeed evil. It is the one thing that is stopping me from evolving, as I consider my life to be good now, at the same time denying my responsibility and glory to live like a Son of God on earth.

  16. “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?” – to settle makes the eyes lazy and so too the relationship.

  17. It is not easy to know truth when we have strayed so far from it but when we start to live the deepest truth that we know, we can step by step find back to the truth for all.

  18. Comparison is seeded by our separation from Oneness, for it requires two single units to be measured against each other.

    1. Different bodies same essence, it is like comparing ourselves with ourselves. Not that probably most of us have not done this at some point, though from the fullness of Oneness its pretty silly.

  19. Adam this is a brilliant article exposing the evil of comparison, and how it stops us from evolving and having a true connection with another.

  20. We do have a strong tendency in society to define things by the extremes. We are a bit shocked by the use of the word abuse when it is not domestic violence or very obvious bullying. Yet any time we don’t bring harmony to a relationship it is felt by the other person. It imposes on them and often changes the way they respond or behave. No wonder relationships are not working (1 in 2 marriages are ending in divorce) when we only act to fix things when the abuse becomes extreme.

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