‘I and Mine’s Theory of Relativity’ reads thus….
“In any situation where one subject is assessed relative to another or to multiple others, the potential for absolute validity of assessment is directly proportional to the number of absolutes and/or variables (especially the variables) used within the making of said assessment.
However, wherever and whenever ‘I’ or ‘mine’ factors are introduced to said assessment the shape, form and effects of those absolutes and variables are subject to potential change as a direct result of the positive and negative effects of those factors and indeed how they are introduced. Thus, unless said influences are counteracted by the introduction of an appropriate and adequate impartiality factor, the resultant validity of said assessment is questionable.”
Ok So I’ll come clean. “I and Mine’s Theory of Relativity” doesn’t really exist, or at least it didn’t until now. In fact I formulated it after giving the whole subject of “comparing ourselves to others” a fair bit of thought lately and I named it as a result of its content and the phonetic play on Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. But does that make it any the less relevant or true?
I think the major problem with comparing ourselves and our circumstances/difficulties to others is that it is seldom a good idea as there are without doubt a number of ‘I’ and ‘Mine’ factors involved in this.
As I mentioned in the theory, the number of absolutes and especially variables in any given assessment will have a direct and often negative effect on the validity of the assessment. Likewise, when ‘I’ and ‘Mine’ factors are introduced, how they are introduced and who introduces them can also cause that ‘number of variables’ to increase greatly.
So let’s take a look at that for a moment…
Firstly, we can seldom tell exactly what is going on in someone else’s life or how they are truly handling things and so any assessment based on that consideration will to some extent be guess-work which of course is a very definitely a variable.
Additionally we seldom have all the facts concerning other factors in that person’s life and this therefore increases the variable. So right from the get go our assessment or comparison is on very shaky ground and thus the validity of any results is therefore extremely dubious.
Secondly our perspective of ourselves in relation to others is often flawed. Especially when we experience mental illness as all too often we also (as a result of our difficulties with mental health) consciously or subconsciously have a poor or lowered estimation or image of ourselves.
Because of this, unless we are very careful, any positives that we assign to the other person can all too easily serve to heighten or increase the negatives that we apply to ourselves.
Thirdly, all too often the idea of a comparison or assessment of our self or our difficulties/circumstances relative to another person is all too often introduced either by that person or a third-party. And in most cases there is already a history in place which will shape (either positively or negatively) the comparison or assessment and it is extremely difficult to obtain a clinical, detached, or accurate comparison or assessment under these circumstances unless (as the theory suggests) these influences are counteracted by the introduction of an appropriate and adequately impartiality person.
Two very important factors to remember here are 1) that we are all unique and 2) that when it comes to pain, suffering and difficulties these are all extremely personal and individual just as are our abilities to cope with them or to conquer them are extremely personal and individual.
Because of our uniqueness and the personal and individual nature of our difficulties no comparison with, or assessment relative to another, is ever going to produce exact or totally valid results.
It is for these reasons and because of “‘I’ and ‘Mine’s’ Theory of Relativity” that I think any comparison or assessment of ourselves relevant to another is potentially terribly flawed, unhelpful and often unhealthy UNLESS we can be absolutely certain of total impartiality in that assessment. And even then I would question its wisdom, usefulness or healthiness.
In Shakespeare’s Hamlet ( I think it was Act one Scene three but I am not sure of that) Polonius tells his son Laertes “To thine own self be true” Of course Polonius meant it in a different context to how I am going to use it here but there is great wisdom in those words.
“To Thine OWN self be true”.
Not to anyone else’s self but to ‘thine own self.’ I am not you and you are not me. Likewise I am neither any one of my brothers or my sister, nor am I my mother nor my father and what is more I cannot possibly be them.
That is not selfishness that is reality. I am me and it is to me that I must stay true because it is me I ultimately have to live with and only I have my specific mental, physical, emotional and spiritual – nature, perspectives, history, challenges, abilities, hopes, and difficulties.
But let me offer one final observation before closing what is already a very long posting. And I really do apologize for its length but I did promise I would write a posting on relativity and comparing ourselves with others and I really do think it is a very important subject.
I am convinced that truth without love is like a tear without release. It enables little, heals nothing, and expresses even less. So to borrow from Polonius and Shakespeare and indeed to add to what they said…
“To thine own self be true and do so knowing this can only fully be achieved in love.”