Matt Forney
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The Relative Man


This is a guest post by J. Ballard Criminal.

Allow me to relate to you whilst not being relative.

I’d rather this be called a moment of reflection than an article on this society, its state of affairs and the men who live in it or those who live above it.

For the longest time, I’ve been plagued by a question: “Am I relatable or am I relative?”

Well, neither, although I’d like to be the former… Why?

Schadenfreude is a symptom of being relative. So is envy… and a myriad of other problems, most of which are mental but manifest in ways unbeknownst to us.

What is a ‘Relative Man?’

In the simplest of terms, a relative man is one who judges his highs and lows in relation to other men.

He revels in looking at the scrawny guy at the gym and feels proud. At the same time, he’s never inspired by men with better physiques, he’s motivated by jealousy to surpass them.

He secretly loathes his friend who earns more than him, but he’ll get over it soon as there are quite a few men who earn less than him at the office.

How Does a Man Become Relative?

In all honesty, I don’t have a definitive answer. While every individual may have his reasons, I can say that the following always plays a part in it:

  • The ego. Anyone who becomes its slave doesn’t end well. Being relative is just one example. Any man with a large ego always has something to prove, and ironically he wants to prove himself to the very society he’s trying to outdo.
  • A society which breeds “healthy competition.” While sociologists believe it’s essential for the growth of society, who factors in the hatred it breeds? Children grow up with a cutthroat attitude and the chain of misery is slung from one generation to another.
  • A culture of materialism. “He who doesn’t want anything from life will never have an adversary out to steal what was meant for him.” Be that man. Don’t be the one who will lose a night’s sleep over an expensive watch, he who will hate you for wearing a coat he perceives is finer than his.

Don’t Be Relative, Be Relatable

The relatable man is never relative.

The relatable man breaks past his mental barriers and circumstances, taking a step every day towards reaching his potential and surpassing it.

The relatable man is who I’d like to be, someone others can look up to and admire for his virtues, his ironclad will and his drive to be the best he can be.

The relatable man only competes with one person: himself. He can only relate to the innate spark inside of others, to be inspired and awed.

A relatable man cannot relate to a relative man.

I want to be someone you can relate to and I want to relate to you.

Who do you want to be?

Read Next: Narcissism, “Rape Culture” and Why Millennial Girls Are Monsters

  • Nice, thought provoking article to which I can relate. ;)

    It reminds me how damaging and unhelpful my ego has been. I’m not too proud to admit I am an ego-slave (at this time, November 22, 2014). It’s the reason for all of my accolades, my degrees, getting through the CPA exams and then being miserable in my career choice. I wanted to be “somebody” in the traditional societal sense.

    My ego is the reason I wanted to get into game, to dominate in what is the ultimate showing of what it means to be a man. The chip on my shoulder is exactly what moves me to action yet the exact thing precluding my success. Having become aware of it, I hope to change that. First step is admittance, right? Again, nice article.