“Comparison is the thief of joy,” attributed to President Theodore Roosevelt and others, evokes a powerful sentiment that can be life-changing. If we compare ourselves to others, we may be left with feelings of inferiority or superiority—and neither creates an emotionally healthy human being! I’m reminded of the lines from Max Ehrmann’s “Desiderata” poem, wildly-popular in the early 1970s: “If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.” As we mature, we (hopefully) realize the wisdom of not comparing ourselves to others.
But let’s shift the conversation to children and adults with disabilities. If they’re “receiving services,” most are routinely assessed and compared to some “norm,” and are then usually judged to be “less than.” Consider the descriptors that may be used: deficient, sub-normal, below average, low functioning, severe, impaired, and so on. And once a comparison is made, it can be nearly impossible to see the person’s abilities, strengths, and/or talents. In addition, we may be unable to recognize that the person is making progress. Click here to continue.
Comparison: The Thief of Joy
Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.
New Ways of Thinking and Revolutionary Common Sense