Many of us have rigged yardsticks with which we compare ourselves to others. These yardsticks are designed, by us, so that we (and those who do things our way) come out on top.
This idea first came to me years ago when I was a vegetarian and involved in my local vegetarian society. People who call themselves vegetarians can range from those who simply don't eat red meat, but will eat most anything else, to people who won't even wear leather shoes or belts, much less eat anything from an animal, including milk, eggs, or honey. What I found was that many people in the vegetarian society believed that their level of vegetarianism was just right, that those who had a lesser level were uncommitted, and that those with a higher level were fanatics. They each had their own rigged yardsticks of how they measured themselves and others, and, by their own measurements, they came out on top.
I then realized that many of us have rigged yardsticks in many other areas of our lives. For example, a woman who has slept with ten men might consider a woman who has slept with two men to be a prude and a woman who has slept with fifty men to be a slut, while the woman who has slept with two men might consider both the other two women to be sluts, and the woman who has slept with fifty men might consider both the other two women to be prudes.
Here's one that you can try: cuss words. Don't you use them at just about the right level? How do you feel about people who use them far more often than you do? What about people who use them far less often — or never — even if they had a mouthful of it?
Many of us tend to associate with people with yardsticks rigged in ways similar to our own. We tell them that they're OK for their positions that match ours, they tell us that we're OK for our positions that match theirs, and we all agree that those people, the ones on either side of our positions, are not OK.
If we really felt OK about ourselves, would we need yardsticks that were rigged for us (and those who agree with us) to come out on top?
* For readers outside the US, substitute the term "meter sticks for the word "yardsticks."
See previous post by this contributor: Where's Your Bottom?