Remember that time you dropped a few pounds, felt really good about yourself and then you got on Instagram to take a photo and saw a photo of one of your friends?
She had lost a little bit more than you and had on a great new outfit.
The 15 pounds you lost suddenly seemed… pitiful.
You were depressed, upset and angry that you hadn’t lost more.
“She can lose all that weight because she doesn’t have kids, so she has time to go to the gym,” you think to yourself.
“And that’s another thing – she doesn’t have children. She didn’t have stretch marks and I bet her stomach was still flat,” you think.
Before long, you’ve gone from celebrating your own success to being miserable because someone else’s success may have been a smidge better.
What your friend achieves has nothing to do with you.
It’s not going to take away from what you’ve done. It’s not going to make you less than. It’s not going to cause your success to be any less.
Just like what you do really doesn’t take away from someone else’s success and achievements.
For some warped, twisted reason, we seem to think if someone gets the car we want, the house we dream of, or has any type of success it’s an indicator of our failure.
We have created imaginary limitations that make us think if someone does something great, that means we have to fail.
Life shouldn’t be a competition, but somehow… that’s what it’s become. It’s like we are in a race where only the first one across can break that finish line tape, when it really shouldn’t be that way.
Who says just because someone experiences something wonderful in their life that we have to give up success? We don’t. That makes no sense.
I don’t even consider it a jealousy type thing. If anything, it’s some twisted comparison complex where we spend all day comparing ourselves to someone else and coming up short.
If it was just jealousy, it would be a hell of lot more benign.
When I am jealous, it’s because it’s something that I wish I had or could do or achieved that I hadn’t – but maybe one day would. Like I am jealous of women who know how to decorate and make the tiniest spaces look divine. I am jealous – but I am able to gush and tell them how envious I am sincerely.
When I fall into the comparison trap, I am coming up less than and trying to find a way to decrease the other person’s value in the meantime.
“She has a better job than me, and I don’t know why, she doesn’t have my education. I bet I know how she got it…”
“She’s always posting on Facebook how great her husband is… last I heard, he was cheating on her….”
These are some of the themes we play in our heads to justify why someone else has success or happiness. Whatever you call it – it’s just something that makes you feel like you are a total failure the size of Texas.
That’s what comparison does.
It’s like someone saying, “That’s comparing apples and oranges.”
Two totally different fruits. Some people like citrus; personally, I am not fan of either but you can dip an apple in caramel.
Does the apple worry about the orange? About the fact the orange can be easily peeled and cut into sections? Or that there are seedless varieties?
Of course not. Just as the orange does not care that the apple can be baked in a pie.
And I am not saying we are fruit, but instead of focusing on what someone else does or has, we need to focus on our own happiness.
Social media is often the arena where we fall prey to this trap the most. We search through our friends photos, and instead of feeling happy to see their new home, their vacation to Bimini, or their gorgeous new boyfriend, we seethe and fume.
“Why isn’t that my life?”
Instead, we feel a twinge of happiness if we find an unflattering picture of them on Facebook and snickering, “I knew they would gain that weight back!” we should direct our attention towards the positive things in our lives.
Tearing ourselves down with a comparison complex only causes us to subsequently tear others down, just to make ourselves feel better. And it’s not working, either.
Instead, we feel worse and then guilty for being such jerks.
Next time we want to celebrate what we have accomplished, let’s just celebrate it – rejoice in what we did, how made it through something, met our goals, whatever we did.
But put the focus on that.
And let the comparison end there.