Comparison is the thief of joy, they say. I hear that and I think, of course. It makes perfect sense! And yet, when it comes to certain things, I can’t help but do it anyway.
For years now, I’ve been fully aware that if you are feeling upset about something, it is almost always due to your own insecurity. So, I think it’s fair to say that generally speaking, if you are comparing yourself to someone else and feeling bad, or jealous, or hateful (towards yourself or them), chances are, you are feeling insecure. (If you aren’t yet comfortable with that statement, take some time to dissect it and process it for yourself! This is a huge game-changer.)
But this past week, I realized something deeper. I caught myself feeling a little down when looking at other people’s success. I felt, admittedly, jealous and hurt when I saw other people doing well, which I will say, is not a common feeling for me. So, I went to work to question what that was about. I talked to a friend, I meditated, I journaled, and after letting go of what was worrying me, I realized something pretty huge.
I only feel threatened by other people’s success, when it’s about something that’s not right for me.
In other words, I feel threatened by someone being “really happy”, or “in love”, or “successful” only when it’s based on something I think I should be doing or having or accomplishing, not based on what I actually value and strive for.
For instance, back when I was focused on being a professional dancer, it would bother me when other people were successful at auditioning and booking jobs that way. Not because I didn’t want them to be successful, but because I thought that’s what I should be doing, and it made me feel bad that I wasn’t. But when I realized that path wasn’t for me, I found success and fulfillment in dance in other ways. And, no longer felt threatened by others succeeding in that way. Because truthfully, booking jobs for me was never about me really wanting the job itself, it was about me needing the external validation that I was good enough. It wasn’t authentic, it was simply an insecurity pulling at me.
In looking at my life today, I am focused on yoga retreats, teacher training programs, self-development, etc. And in no way am I threatened by other people succeeding at hosting yoga retreats, or leading teacher trainings, or doing life coaching, etc. In fact, it often inspires me and helps me stay driven toward my goal.
So when this comparison feeling snuck in last week, and I caught it, and I realized that comparison only feels threatening when it’s about something that’s not authentic to me, I had an opportunity to check myself. I looked at my values, and my purpose in doing what I’m doing currently. I looked at specifically what was bothering me about seeing other people’s success. What scared me? What made me feel bad about myself?
I quickly realized it was only about looks. It was about other people looking cooler or more successful because they have more of a following. And as much as a real following is super useful and worth working for - it wasn’t the real following that I was jealous of. It was simply that it looked more successful.
So just like that - I get to check myself. What is my purpose? Is it to look successful? Or is it to be impactful. And while it’s easy to say that of course it’s to be impactful, it’s not always easy to hold on to that truth.
This week, I get to come back to my truth. I get to acknowledge that, that feeling of comparison is not only about my own insecurity, but specifically it’s about something that is actually not important to me. And then I get to choose. Do I want to decide that getting validation is important to me, and focus on it, so that I can feel better? OR am I willing to stay true to my values, even if it means less validation?
We know the answer ;).
Step into your actions with full responsibility. You must be willing to walk forward even if things don’t go as you want them to, as you think they should, or as you see other people doing. If you are not - you will get crushed. But if you are, if you truly are willing to keep stepping external judgement or validation, you become absolutely unstoppable.