Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Realizing inner solidity

Comparison is one way to help a child learns right from wrong, or what is good to eat, and what tastes bad. We actually develop this need to compare so that we can create our inner values, understand expectations, and get an idea of what our abilities are. We learn that we are faster than others at one activity, but struggle to do other activities. This develops a self image within us of "who we are".

You will hear people say things like "I'm bad at math", or "I'm good at running." The reason that they say this is because they are comparing themselves with others that they had seen doing the same action, and have decided that this is how they score in the scheme of things.

If there is one thing that I have learned through my experience in Karate is that comparison can be a two edged sword.

Yes, I needed to compare my efforts with others to see how I am progressing. I noticed that through the years my kicks have gained in speed, height, and power. I am now capable of doing things that I never would have dreamed possible as a white belt. Whenever I watch a new student struggling to cross the floor in front stance, I am often reminded of how I was in the same position only a short while ago. I can smile and remember all of the awkward, painful, uncomfortable sensations of learning basic stances, and trying to coordinate them with the techniques. When I look at more experienced Karate students achieving even greater things than I can hope to do at this moment, I am inspired to keep reaching, and learning.

However, comparison can kill your inner spirit if it is used in a negative way. It would be easy to convince yourself that you will never achieve anything as good as that person, so why even try. Or you may go to a tournament, and find that your assessment of your skills did not match the reality of the outcome. Too many people have allowed comparison to destroy their happiness, vision, and goals.

The honest reality is that we usually use the tool of comparison when we have no set objective standard in which to measure our attitude/skills, and we are uncertain about ourselves in a certain activity. Once we have acquired a base knowledge of what we need to achieve the rank that we desire, we should stop comparing. This is when we need to look at our own selves, our own strengths/weaknesses, in an objective way, and work towards building them both up.

This is where we tame our personal "ego", and allow our superior mind to control. Karate is all about improving physically, mentally, and spiritually. Learning to control, and tame the inner self, and to become solidified in our expectations without having a need to compare, and become "better" than others, or to become the "best" creates a happier person in the end.

If you would like to read more about comparing yourself to others, and learn some steps to stop doing this to yourself, feel free to visit:

Avoid the pitfall of comparing yourself to others

2 comments:

MilkManX said...

OSU!

Yes I try to do the same!
Thanks for the reminder though as sometimes I can get down on my ability.

OSU!!

Ruth said...

Comparisons with others in a martial arts class is dangerous thing, thats for sure.