I was reminded of this quote by a friend who was recently interviewed for the Tranquil Space blog. It is a brilliant reminder that we each embody a particular collection of gifts and talents that prepare us to pursue our own unique path.
Comparing ourselves to others is a lose-lose proposition. When I began to practice yoga, I constantly peered at the yogis around me, trying to establish a baseline against which to evaluate my practice. If I happened to be in a room full of bendy-stretchy types, I would be embarrassed by my runner's double whammy of inflexible hamstrings and tight hips. When I held a balance pose longer than the yogi next to me. I would inwardly applaud myself for my "superior" focus. Neither approach served me well. Envy and pride, which are the logical conclusion of judging ourselves against someone else, are equally ineffective in improving our yoga practice or our life off the mat.
As a teacher, I see this tendency play out often. In group classes I regularly urge my students to focus on their own experience and tune out any distractions in the room - or in their minds. When we are able to let go of the idea that we need to be as flexible/strong/smart/attractive as the person next to us, we can look within, which is a necessary first step toward growth.
Can you let go of the tendency to judge yourself by someone else's standards? Can you discover your own genius?