In the context of reflecting on whether we measure ourselves against others (better than, worse than, or the same as), and speaking in ways that reflect those (mis)perceptions, we also need to listen to our internal rating system. This may or may not be in relation to other people.
Ajahn Sumedho, in his book “Don’t Take Your Life Personally”, talks about trusting awareness without judging our experience. This is how we can build internal stability regardless of what thoughts or emotions visit us; or as Shinzen Young would say, a peace that’s not dependent on external circumstances. Ajahn Sumedho speaks very specifically about allowing even the feelings we wish we didn’t have; how to be aware of them without being caught by them.
From a chapter called “Being Human” in Ajahn Sumedho’s book of collected talks titled “Don’t Take Your Life Personally”:
I encourage you to listen to your personality non-judgementally, and if immature, emotional reactions come up – if anger and resentment or negative states come up or you get carried away with inspiration and all the good stuff of life – just say, ‘Fine, welcome!’ The point is not to judge any of it, not to cling to it, or prefer it, but to merely trust yourself to be the witness. Things arise and cease; they are what they are. And in this attitude of it-is-what-it-is, I find a way of accepting experience without judging it. As soon as I say ‘immature emotion’, I am making a value judgement about what I am experiencing. And the logic that comes from that is that I am an emotionally immature man. There is such a strong resistance to some mental states that it takes real determination in awareness to accept them. But, if you can, trust yourself to accept the things you don’t like.
By accepting our experience in awareness – all of it – without resistance or judgment, we are in fact letting it go. We can continuously release our experience; as it arises, we note or observe the experience directly, and we allow it to pass. The more we can live this process of awareness with acceptance, the lighter our lives can become.