I sat at lunch, hungry, lunchless. I did homework quietly while my friends spoke with one another and ate their lunches. I had no idea that events were about to unfold that would cause an epiphany the likes of which I had never known before.
A friend seated to my right offered me a piece of a chicken strip, which I graciously accepted and consumed. About a minute later, a different friend asked for a piece like the one I had received. This friend’s new acquisition appeared to be slightly larger in size and girth than mine had been. I quickly filled with jealousy and hunger for a piece of chicken larger than that of my friend. I felt betrayed and deceived. I felt like I had been given negative chicken.
This is when I realized the gravity of my situation. I had been perfectly content sitting silently, chickenless. However, after being given less of something than my friend, I felt more empty than I would have had nothing happened at all. I felt this way because I had less, relative to someone else. Hence, my revelation came rushing from the ethereal into my consciousness: everything is relative. Every thing in every day is relative to others.
I believe in everyday relativity. I believe in it with all my being. I believe that everything we have, say, do, and are is based on other people. Nothing at all would be meaningful if it weren’t for others.
If the concept seems somewhat uncertain at first, consider it this way: If you were the only person you knew, would you strive for all the same things for which you strive now? Would you have any of the same things? If you didn’t need to please others, to rise above others, would you worry about being politically correct, being a good person, being considerate?
Similarly, we compare ourselves constantly to the standards we set for ourselves, which are often based on others. A bar is set, and somewhere there is a ‘zero’ that we must reach. A person or level is considered to have that ‘zero,’ much like my friend. Had I had the same amount of chicken, I would have been as content as before I began to compare myself to him, when I had zero chicken.
While my revelation may sound critical, my intent is not to caustically expose our human nature, but to show the necessity of others in our daily lives. Incidentally, I also believe that it is truly a person’s responsibility to live for others. Lucky for me, and for all those with whom I compare myself, it’s just our nature.
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