Oh, the comparison trap. It catches us all at some point, which is why if we don’t learn ways to release ourselves from the trap, we’ll end up stuck in jealousy city!
I have dealt with my fair share of envying what others have, or seem to have, or seem to be. In teenage years, it was all about wanting to have the same experiences that those around me were having and being jealous of so many material, artificial, stupid things- normal teenage stuff.
I don’t experience much jealousy around anything to do with my lifestyle, my looks or possessions any longer, thank goodness. But when it comes to my work, my passion, what I spend most of my days worth pouring myself into- the green eyed monster has been known to come out with a fury.
When I see others already in the place I want to be with my career, I get a little jealous. When I see them get praise and attention and a bunch of hub bub, I get a little jealous. When it seems like everything works out so easily for them, or that they have a kind of support I don’t have (like a secret financial backer!), or if they seem to have some super magical powers of productivity that I can never match, I get really dang jealous!
But that’s just it- we grow jealous by our perceptions of others which are often skewed, half true and hardly ever the whole story. We see only the finished result- the exotic trip that they’re instgramming from, the dream house they just bought, the magazine article about them- we see the pulled together photo-ready stuff of other people’s lives, in many cases. And we feel jealous because it feels “unfair”- why do they get all the good stuff?
But we don’t see the stressful hours of trip planning, the calls to hotels and agents, flight changes, long layovers. We don’t see the 3 offers on the house that fell through before this one finally worked out. We don’t see the dozens of un-responded to emails that it took to get that one magazine to reply “yes!”
We only see our subjective perspectives of snippets of information and draw conclusions from there. Then we end up stuck because in those jealous moments our energy is so focused on what we lack, that we can’t help but feel crummy and less than.
So how do we stop that vicious comparison cycle? Here are a few things that work for me in my life:
Get whatever’s causing your envy pangs out of your brain-space for awhile by getting it out of your physical space, too! I had an issue with a “copycat” when I first started my blog and I grew so angry with her and was putting so much energy into figuring out all the ways in which she was copying me, that I was becoming a big ball of resentment. Meanwhile, she had no clue I even had any opinion of her! All that icky energy was only affecting ME. I finally realized I was the cause of it because of my constant comparison with this person.
So I got space. I stopped reading her blog, stopped following her on twitter, stopped engaging in the mental drama. And wouldn’t you know it, outta sight, outta mind! Without seeing all these things to rile me up, I wasn’t getting riled up and was free to put that energy back into me and my own path again. If you need some distance, take it!
There ain’t no pretty house, fancy shoes or seemingly perfect relationship out there that can compare to the genuine gratitude you express for your own life. In those moments when I feel like I’m lacking, I make a mental list, or sometimes might even write it out, of all the things that I have that I’m grateful for and of all the things I AM that I’m grateful for. And when your mind and body become energized with gratitude, the anger, jealousy, etc don’t have room to fit any longer- they get squeezed out because gratitude is that BIG.
Now when I get those jealous pangs, I realize they’re leading me, like anxious little guides, to the things I want most out of my life. If I’m jealous of someone’s confidence and way with words, it’s because I want that for myself! So instead of staying stuck in jealous city and focusing on that lack, I focus on how I’m gonna get what I want. And I use those experiences of others (like a blogger getting a book published- my dream!) as motivation to get my own thing out into the world, and to make it the best it can be!
It really comes down to where we’re putting our energy.
When we’re jealous, our energy is going out out out- wanting, yearning, looking for an external something-or-other to fill us up again. So in those moments, re-directing your energy back to yourself and your own journey, which is exactly what our Catalyst Course is all about, is the way to slip right out of that comparison trap before it can sink its teeth in you.
Remember- jus’ do you.
Check out Jen’s post about her secret way of releasing the green eyed monster!
Share your thoughts/tips/struggles around the idea of work/life balance on your blog too, and we’ll post a link right here for our readers to check out!
Evelyn from 15 Melbourne gets real with her ideas on jealousy and how she combats the green monster in her life.
Emily from Goodness Greenness shares what makes jealousy rear it’s ugly head in her life
Pocky from Living Apocalypse talks about getting stuck on the hamster wheel of comparison
(thanks for sharing on your blogs, awesome Mavens! Anyone can join in!)
Have you had issues with comparison and jealousy in your life? How have they held you back?
Any tips on how you escape from jealous city?
Share your insight with us in the comments, Mavens!