“You don’t see the world as it is. You see the world as you are.”
When I was in college, there was this certain girl in our batch who was nothing short of wonderful. Really. She was kind, beautiful, intelligent. She was secure and humble. Everybody loved her. She was everything that every college girl aspired to be, a true heroine of the “ideal”.
I’m sure she wasn’t perfect, simply because no one is. But raise your hand if you’ve ever encountered people in your life who were just… flawless human beings. There’s no denying that we, as humans, have a mental pedestal reserved for the “up there” people that we know. You know what I’m talking about. The people who we always look up to in one aspect or another, who we think can do no wrong. People so smart, you’d give them a country to run. People so kind, you’d defend them to death. People so gorgeous, your eyes melt out of your sockets from staring.
(I’m looking at you, Henry Cavill. You are unfair, good sir.)
But consider the opposite: have you ever just had someone whom you… looked down on?
“Too bad she isn’t quite pretty enough. Oh, he would have been good enough, if only he were smarter. It’s a shame she just doesn’t know how to carry herself. If only he were more disciplined and were more successful in life. She’s not wise enough. He’s not social enough. She’s not decent, he’s immature…” and etc.
Be honest now.
I have. Hate to admit it, but it’s true. There are people that I consider defective in certain areas of their lives. Myself included. And I look down on them. Again, myself included.
What’s happening here? I’ll tell you what: it’s the metric at work.
The metric is an imaginary little measuring stick that we use. You use it, I use it. The world uses it. And it’s not the same for everyone. The metric comes in different forms, measuring different things like monetary success, career position, good looks, intelligence, likability, or even competency, or kindness, or all of the above. More than anything, it is a subtle, almost secret thing that controls the way you and I see one another. How we treat one another and how the world treats us? All based on the metric.
It’s either we’re “never enough” in a sense, or we’re “enough” to be classified as a more upgraded human being. Either way, it only produces two things: insecurity, or pride. Low self-esteem, or arrogance.
Because with the measure you use, it will be measured against you.
I don’t know about you, but I think that’s terrible. I’m terrible. But fortunately, the more I walk on this earth, the more I learn. Here’s something I’ve picked up in my rage against the metric machine:
Everyone has something to give. We are incapable of making a perfect evaluation of a person’s life. We will never fully know another person’s complete set of strengths and weaknesses; we don’t know their struggles or pain or situation. When we remember this, we don’t have to put people up there, or look people down. Certainly, we should evaluate actions, and what’s right and wrong and excellent and not, but we should remember that the total value of a person does not lie in his/her accomplishments. Our lives are more than two columns of the “good” and “bad” aspects of ourselves.
Words like lazy, beautiful, fat, smart, excellent, incompetent, successful, empty, difficult, brilliant, etc. are adjectives. They are descriptors. They are not states of being. These words should be treated as such.
When we put our value outside of these words—when we finally understand that we are not the sum of our parts—it becomes 100% easier to move forward in the right direction. Because then, we can change our accomplishments tomorrow. We can fail, or not fail. We can be ugly, we can be beautiful. We can be famous, or we can figuratively crash and burn. We become fearless, because our souls will never be worth more, or less. Our hearts are hinged on a fixed point, calibrating our values, and allowing us to see others as similarly valuable, outside of their situations.