I have some free time today, so I thought I’d post a little discussion. One of the subjects I’m taking this semester is Human Resource Management and my lecturer, Mr. Gabriel, always says the best things. He’s a funny guy 🙂 Anyway, I’ve been thinking a lot about something he says quite a few times since the beginning of this semester. He said to “never mirror yourself on other people”. Now I’m not sure if that sentence is grammatically correct, but you get the idea. Right?
How many times have you heard someone say something like “when I was your age, I didn’t have the internet/phone/technology but I still got better grades”, or “I could do (insert job/task here) much faster, so why can’t you?”, or something like that? I know I have. When I was in high school I had a teacher who said things like that. Sometimes my parents would say something similar, too. No one likes to hear these things, right? But the thing is, I do it too, mostly to my younger sisters and usually it’s when I say “I didn’t have an iPhone when I was your age. Why do you need an iPhone?”
Why is it so annoying, even upsetting sometimes, to hear people compare you to them? Well, for me, there are a few reasons:
- It makes me feel useless, like I can’t do anything right.
Let me give you an example. This happened to me a few years ago when I didn’t get very good results for my math exam. It wasn’t that bad (I think), but someone-who-will-not-be-named said something like “you should’ve studied more. I don’t have a laptop to search for past year questions etc.. but I still got an A”. I was so upset! Way to kick a person when they’re down! I actually studied very hard for that exam, but these things happen…
- It makes me feel judged and hurts my feelings
Let’s say you’re at work, and you have to key in a bunch of data and a coworker has to do the same thing. This coworker finished his/her work before you did because they can type faster and they come to your table and say “you’re not done yet???” in that annoying way people say things like this, “I finished my work an hour ago, you can’t type very fast can you?” Helloooo…. don’t judge me!
- It makes me upset/angry
This is usually my first reaction. I get upset when people start comparing me to them. Then I’ll think and rethink their words and feel judged, then my feelings get hurt and then I’ll feel useless etc. etc.
Please don’t tell me I’m the only person who feels like that?
We can never know a person’s life other than what they show us. Everyone lives different lives, they come from different backgrounds and they have different lifestyles. If we can’t compare apples and oranges, how can we compare people?
Maybe someone has personal problems like their family or health, or maybe the might be juggling 2-3 jobs or working while studying. Or just because you’re willing to come to work on a Sunday, doesn’t mean that other people are, maybe they have other obligations. And who knows? Maybe that coworker who said you type very slowly can’t play the piano as well as you can.
“Why don’t you take it as a challenge?”
I agree, in some cases, this ‘mirroring’ thing could be good. It could be motivating, the push you needed to work harder, study smarter, etc. But in my opinion, if someone wants you to be better/help you improve, there are better ways to do it, or at least say it in a nicer way. Maybe instead of saying “I could finish this exam in less than an hour, why are you so slow???”, you could say something like “You can do it! Take your time and make sure you read the questions carefully.”
I’ve been trying very hard to never mirror myself on others, and so far it’s been working. If I don’t want people to do it to me, then I shouldn’t do it to others, right? Anyway, this is just my opinion based on my experience, and I don’t think it applies to everyone, so… yeah.
What do you think about mirroring? Have you ever experienced something like this and did you find it as annoying as I did? Tell me in the comments! I’d love to hear what you think 🙂