From an early age, we are taught the value of comparison. From homework assignments asking us "which circle is bigger?" to "which sentence is written correctly?" we have had ingrained in us the idea of comparison.
As we get a little older, we begin learning other things to compare- whose clothes are nicer, which backpack is cooler, and which classmate is more fun to play with on the playground.
The doozie hits in early adolescence-- Comparing attractiveness. She's prettier, and therefore, more favorable as a friend. He's cuter, so I'll have a crush on him. Comparisons teach us- how to behave, how to dress, how to be well-liked, and even who to avoid. With this so ingrained in us, we continue on in this fashion pretty much forever.
I've been thinking a lot about this recently. I've thought of many times in my life when I didn't know how to behave, so I watched others. I've thought of how I've justified by behaviors because I'm not as bad as they are. I've treated people differently based on their comparitive level of attractiveness. And I think if you're being really honest- so have you.
I've been trying to compare less recently- which is really hard, when we've all been trained to do it. But I need to remember that if I have to justify my actions because others are doing worse, I probably still shouldn't be acting like that, speaking like that, or whatever. If I don't know how to act or dress or something, I should do what I like to do, what I like to wear, etc. I should be comfortable in being myself, whether or not it's exactly how everybody else is doing things.
Anyways, take some time, evaluate how often you compare yourself and others. How often do you justify? How often do you take cues that don't matter at all? Think about it... act on it.