2010-12-24 / Columnists

The Inner Voice

Commentary by Marilyn Gelfand

Some people always see others through competitive eyes even when they are doing noncompetitive activities. How another person looks, how he bowls or dances, who he hangs around with, how much money he makes, what he does for a living, etc. can all be sized up against me to determine who is superior.

It is almost like a vertical accounting of who is on top, and I have to keep proving my superiority to myself.

If you ever feel like you are being scrutinized or under surveillance, and it is not your mother making sure you are okay, you may be with a person who is making a determination of where you fit in his hierarchy.

Do you have people whose company you don’t enjoy?

Possibly they are extremely competitive and don’t waste time on trivialities.

I like to look at people horizontally. We are all individual pieces of equal worth that interlock together to make a giant puzzle. This means that we can help and ask for help. It means we are never alone, but always connected to others.

It means we can all make mistakes, try to learn and correct our behavior if we want to and ask for and give forgiveness when appropriate.

We can be with people whose company we enjoy and create a fun life for ourselves when possible. We can choose to be part of a supportive network of individuals who care about others.

When we ourselves give or help someone, it can feel wonderful to help another.

What you see in others is your own choice. We want to be viewing others in reality, not through our own scripts of insecurity or neediness.

When you don’t have to be superior, you can relax into life more, realizing that none of us is immortal. Make life what you want it to be as much as possible.

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