There Is No Ladder
Fifteen or so years ago, I heard a speaker say that we spend so much of our time evaluating the people around us, putting them on a ladder, placing value on them, and comparing our worth and where we belong on this ladder. I was listening and recognized myself and my thoughts in what he was saying.
This was in a group where I definitely felt like an imposter and that I somehow squeaked in, and as soon as they figured out that I wasn't supposed to be there, the facade was over….and I'd be booted out. Do you recognize this?
Since then, I have been in a group of friends here and there and discussed this ladder. If put on the spot, with a group of folks, rank them on that ladder. While it feels awkward at first, everyone usually agrees that they could rank a group on a ladder. In fact, we often have already done this subconsciously.
You may be thinking, 'what are the criteria for ranking on this ladder?' and I am here to tell you there are so many things. None of that actually matters because the speaker talking about the ladder didn't stop at discussing how we put everyone on a ladder.
The truth is, there is no ladder. We have made the ladder up. It does not exist. We spend so much time putting others on a ladder and seeing if we can do something to move up on this imaginary ladder. Because of this, we miss out on being present in the circles and groups, enjoying the connection. Sometimes it steals the joy from our everyday.
What would you do with all the energy you spent figuring out where you are on a ladder? Take a deep breath and see the ladder disappear into thin air. Everyone on the ladder floats to equal ground. That includes you. What will you differently now?