When a friend tells you that they go a new job making twice what the were making (and twice what you are making), what is the first thing that pops into your head? Here are some thoughts that may cross your mind.
- That is awesome! I am so proud of her!
- Oh great, this is all I am going to hear about.
- Why did she get that job?
- Why can’t I get a job like that?
It would be awesome if everyone said number 1, but the simple truth is that they don’t. However, when you post a comment, it is going to be something like, “Way to go”, or “You deserve it”.
While we tell people how proud we are of them for their accomplishments, the truth is that we often (usually) spend more time comparing ourselves to them. Here are the big ones that really get people going. Have you been on either end of any of these posts?
- I got a new job making awesome money!
- I’m in the best shape of my life! (usually accompanied by a picture)
- I’m pregnant!
- I bought a house!
- I’m getting married!
The list can go on and on. These are all AWESOME things that could happen to someone. So, why is it that we aren’t just genuinely happy for people when they experience these blessings. The obvious answer is jealousy. Instead of just being happy for them, we compare their success to where we are. Their happy experience has you comparing a few things. You are comparing where you are to them. You may also be comparing where you are to where you want to be.
As a society, we tend to always be wanting. Someone else has it, so we want it. It is not wrong to have goals. However, you need to be able to have peace with where you are. This is especially true if your goals are material items. I love the way Jim Carey put it.
“I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.”
There will always be someone who has something that you don’t have. Does that mean that you should be upset about it? NO! However, we are always comparing. My wife and I have a cute 2 bedroom, 2 bath house in Virginia Beach. We are about 15 minutes from the beach. Someone renting would look at that and say, “That’s awesome that you guys have a house.” Someone that lives inland might say “15 Minutes from the beach, that’s awesome”. On the other hand, someone with a big house may say “2 bedrooms, why not something bigger”, or someone living on the water may say “Why don’t you move closer to the beach”? We compare others to ourselves.
Just because someone else is succeeding DOES NOT mean that you are failing!
A friend getting a new job does not mean that you have a bad job.
Use a friend getting fit as motivation for you to get fit, not as an opportunity for you to feel bad about yourself.
Your best friend gets pregnant, awesome! When it is time for you, you will be. Ask them for their baby stuff, safe yourself some money!
A friend buys a new house, that doesn’t mean you aren’t in a place.
One of the big things that we don’t see when other people have success is the steps that they had to take to get there. Maybe they were working 80 hour weeks, missing time with their family, and losing sleep in order to get that job. Maybe the friend that just bought a new house has been scrimping and saving for years, going without lots of other things in order to save.
If you find yourself constantly comparing yourself to other, you need to do something about it. Here are some suggestions.
- Make an appreciation list. List of the things that you are thankful for.
- Set some goals. If you are constantly comparing because you are not happy where you are, set some realistic goals for where you want to be, and come up with a plan to get there.
- STAY OFF FACEBOOK! This one is sort of a joke, but sort of serious. People tend to use Facebook for 2 big things. They brag about their success, and their complain about, well, everything else. If you don’t want to be reading those things, stay off.
If you are reading this, you have access to a computer and internet. You probably have a place to live and food to eat. You may not have everything that your friends have, but in the grand scheme of things, you are not doing bad. There is more to life than a bigger house, a nicer car, being the first to have a baby, buy a house, or get your dream job. How is your health? How are your relationships? If you are religious, how is your faith? Do you have people who love you? You other people know that you love them? Are you helping others?