Recently, I spent some time at a shop that specializes in making custom tailored suits and shirts. I wore some of my favorite work clothes for my visit, garments that I had previously loved because I felt sharp and smart in them. Suddenly, those clothes felt slightly shabby and ill-fitting compared to what I saw in this store.

That’s comparison in action. In the same moment, we end up looking down on ourselves for being less than someone else, while looking down on others for being less than us.

Comparison has an inherent cruelty to it. Comparison demands that we knock others down a peg so that we feel better. At the same time, it gnaws away at us by telling us that we don’t measure up.

Kindness beats comparison. It takes every situation and every person on its own terms. It encourages us to see what we have and what we are as a gift to be treasured. Yes, that gift can be cared for and even improved. But kindness helps us to avoid the contempt that almost always comes bundled in with comparison.

Kindness sees the good and the flawed in each person and circumstance. Then kindness says gently, “Keep going. There’s more to come.”

Be bright