You are not better than anyone else, and no one is better than you. “Better” is a subjective term and is not measurable or quantifiable. Therefore, it is impossible to claim you are better than someone else or vice versa. So when someone does declare a higher status, it is contrived and only valid if you and others accept it as true.
You can really only measure yourself against another person by looking at individual traits and skills. You can say you are more skilled at something or you have more proficiency in a given area, but whether or whether not this makes you better than someone else still remains at large. The diversity of skills and attributes among people is what creates a functioning and thriving society. No one person can do what society as a whole does. No one person can possibly know and have the skills of what the collective whole has. We simply do not have the time and ability to learn and master everything we use, do, and benefit from.
Somewhere along the way society has established some fictional status bar of skills and attributes that people should measure each other to. This bar varies from culture to culture and from time period to time period. The point to remember is that it is a fabricated construct that subjectively promotes certain skills and attributes as “better.” It is made-up, it is biased, and plays to the penchant of a select point of view. Its authority comes from people legitimizing it through admission and submission.
Before you pass judgment on yourself or someone else, realize how superficial and unsubstantiated doing so is. Every person contains a diverse mixture of skills and attributes that are not always apparent. We are not our jobs, we are not our families, we are not our wealth, and we are not our hobbies. We cannot be wholly defined by these; we are too complex. Some of us have more advantageous environments and some of us have more life challenges. We cannot possibly control for all these variables in order to pass any judgment regarding superiority.
Instead of judgment, try empathy. We are all more alike than you think. Every person has a different story, but every story contains the same experiences of fear, love, and loss. We are all incredibly adept but also incredibly flawed. We make mistakes, we are imperfect, and we fail. We all endure pain and joy. We all strive to make our lives better, or, for some, bearable. In these ways, we are all the same. No one is immune from them. Focus on what you share with people, not on what divides you.
Replace judgment with understanding and empathy, and you will no longer be putting people down. When you put people down, you thwart their growth and inhibit their moments of contentment. Imagine that instead of putting people down for not being as good as you or for being different from you, you encourage them to reach the potential they have. Imagine what we could create and have if everyone supported each other instead of shutting each other down. Learn to support rather than subvert. Everyone benefits from that.
What good comes out of feeling like you are higher than someone else? Does your ego really need that or benefit from that? Allow yourself to feel better from your accomplishments and abilities, verses from arbitrarily putting yourself above someone else. Focus your energy into bettering yourself – reaching your own bar of potential. That is where true personal contentment flourishes.
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“In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. ‘Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,’ he told me, ’just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.’” – F Scott Fitzgerald