There’s a difference between comparison for the sake of rivalry and comparison for the sake of proximity. When it comes to material items, either is a futile pursuit. When it comes to personal growth, it becomes more about awareness of one’s surroundings. The company we keep tells us a great deal about who we are, where we are and where we’ll be.
Conversations can replenish our emotional buckets. But the same conversations and the same stories told ad nauseam point towards stagnation.
I heard a saying the other day, “When it comes to pebbles in a shoe, the only correct number is zero.” Any one relationship can become a pebble in our shoe over time, and although it may not be inherently unhealthy, it can get uncomfortable and bothersome. Too many of these types of relationships and your pebble-filled shoe makes taking another step unbearable.
Sometimes we need to remove our shoes and shake the pebbles out. Other times, that’s not an option because the relationships may be with people we can’t avoid or cut out of our lives (co-workers, family members, etc.). In those instances, we can do our best to remove our metaphorical shoes before entering into their space. Therefore, the discomfort only lasts as long as the interaction, and we walk away with the only correct number of pebbles in our shoes.