Veronica Ibarra

The Comparison Trap

Veronica Ibarra

We are a society of comparison addicts and in urban dance it is also very widespread. The very nature of the battle, an important part of this culture, consists in comparing the dance of one person with that of another and establish a hierarchy.

We need to keep in mind that comparing is inevitable and that it can even be healthy and clever. Using references and seeking inspiration from others enables us to see what is possible, helps us discover what we want and can motivate us to improve. The problem begins when we form value judgments, putting ourselves above or below others. Then the habit of comparing ourselves pollutes our experience by making it bitter, taking away our well-being and affecting our self-esteem.

We tend to fall into a trap: we look at the strengths in others and compare them to our weak points. But by placing the focus on a characteristic that we do not like about ourselves and comparing it we are not taking into account that each person is unique or that in our totality we all have skills and traits of all kinds, things that we do better or worse than other people. In addition to this, each of us is in a  different stage of development, immersed in an individual process that has nothing to do with the ones others are in. We rarely keep in mind that when we compare ourselves we only see the results and not the effort that took to get there, some paths are more difficult than others.

As a consequence, we feed our insecurities by giving more emphasis to what we consider lacks than to our positive traits In wanting to be like the other, we send ourselves a toxic message that we are not enough being ourselves. Therefore we feel less free to develop our individual and unique way of dancing.

On the other hand, the comparison usually generates envy and resentment, emotions that cause the other dancer to be perceived as a competitor instead of as a partner with whom to share in equality. Immersed in a never ending game in which the goal is to go up levels, continuously verifying in which step we are in regards to others so we know what value we deserve to have, nobody wins. Even if we compare ourselves with someone to feel superior because we think we do it better, we will soon compare ourselves with another person and we will end up losing. The fragile ego is continually shaken because it mistakenly believes that its value depends on the position it occupies on the ladder to perfection. It does not make sense that the value we give to our dance depends on the achievements or failures of others.

Dance is very personal, we all experience it in a different way and the trap of comparison is distracting us from experiencing it in all its beauty and in an authentic way.