Anyone else have problems with comparisons? You look at your life and suddenly you catch your self comparing every aspect of yourself to someone else. Maybe not even a specific person, just people in a certain place in life. Suddenly your clothes feel outdated and your house starts to look drab. It can feel like you’re behind. Like your life isn’t where it should be and you’re failing to make the cut.
I’ve been known to be the jealous type.
I fall into this all the time. I feel five steps behind on everything I do. I’m at the beginning of my adulthood and I feel like I should be a professional who has everything figured out. I think, what if I had started this 2 years ago? What would my life be now? It makes me feel behind on life and jealousy clouds my mind. I’ve totally been the jealous type because I’m the comparing type. I’m jealous that other people were 24 ten years ago. Jealous that people are on different levels than I am. I feel like I’m all the way at the bottom and I’m jealous of anyone who looks like they’re ahead. It’s toxic.
I’m still the jealous type.
It stunts me. I want to do something but I’m trapped in a cycle of wishing I started something years ago and never starting because I feel like I’m too far behind. Jealousy and comparisons have been the biggest feelings that hold me back. It’s either my pictures are not as good or my categories aren’t cohesive or I can’t perfectly renovate a fairytale house built in 10 BC. I don’t know. I’m just not good enough. That’s really where these thoughts come from. It’s having no confidence in my own ideas and abilities so I get jealous because other people look like they have more reason to be confident in what they do. It’s a terrible mindset that needs to stop. I have to stop. If this is how I think, I will never become the person I want to be.
So how do you get out of that? How do you stop feeling inadequate? How can I find the confidence to move forward just as I am?
HOW TO LET IT GO
REALIZE THAT DIFFERENT IS OKAY
One of the biggest things that makes me feel like I’m not good enough is that what I’m doing is different than the people who inspire me. Maybe it’s not drastically different, but it’s different enough. Maybe my walls aren’t white enough or my shirts don’t slouch in the right way. I want to be original, but as soon as I take a step forward and it’s not like everyone else, it feels wrong. Why do I do this? Why do I start second guessing everything I do just because it’s not the same?
That’s got to stop.
People who go the farthest go their own way. It’s good to be inspired by others. But if you do the same thing as someone else, you’re not adding anything substantial to the world. They’ve already done it. They are the only ones who can do things the way they do. In the same sense, you are the only one who can add to the world in your own way. No one else can be you. If you don’t do things in your own, unique, different way, no one else will. When you’re in a creative field, being afraid to be different is the number one thing that will bring you down. So it’s okay. I’ve got to remind myself that different is exactly what I need to be.
STOP LIVING UP TO SOMEONE ELSE’S STANDARDS
When I see a few people living similar lives with similar standards, even if it has nothing to do with my own values, I feel like I have to mold into what others are doing. It paints a picture where subjective opinions become objective standards. Right and wrong is no longer a just moral issue. It starts to seep into things like home decor and clothing. Then, it takes over the definition of success. When you really start to think about it, success is a made up thing. It’s subjective to each and every person. There is no right and wrong to it.
What is important to me may not be important to you and that’s okay. The way success feels to you may not be how it feels for me. It doesn’t mean either of us are wrong, we are just different people with different definitions for success which will ultimately make our lives look different.
That’s a big one. That right there is something that promotes the jealousy and comparisons. I see someone else set a standard for success. If I’m not living up to it, even if they don’t know me, even if I don’t know them, it feels like I’m wrong. So again, this is how it ends. I’ve got to evaluate my values and form my personal definition of success. I have to understand and remember what success looks like to me so I can be confident in the choices I make.
DON’T FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE TO BE AT LEVEL 50 WHEN YOU HAVEN’T EVEN STARTED THE GAME
This is where, feeling like I’m 10 years behind, comes in. When I start a new project, I feel like I need to have everything set up and be 100% successful before I even begin. I work on all the backend things. Never sharing, never starting. Afraid of putting myself out there if I don’t immediately have a following. I look at other people and their success and it looks like it happened over night. Then, of course you go and look at when they started and it’s close to 10 years ago.
Still, I feel like I have to be that good right now at day one.
It’s a ridiculous idea, but this is how I think. I think a little bit of it is impatience. I think it’s not wanting to wait or fear of waiting for something that may never work. Really though, the only difference between me and a successful person is the fact that they are doing something and I’m not. We all start at level one and we all have to work hard to move forward. Just because you’re a couple steps behind doesn’t mean you won’t get to where you want to be. The important thing is to just start and don’t stop until you’ve made it.
AND WHEN IN DOUBT, WRITE IT OUT
When I start to get overwhelmed and I can’t get control of my thoughts, I just write it down. I get it all out of my head through lists and paragraphs. I write down everything I’m feeling and why. Then, I write down every reason I don’t need to feel that way. I remind myself that everything is okay.
If I put in the time and I work hard, I’ll get there. I’ll be where I want to be, but I have to keep going and I can’t stop until I get there.
I don’t have to change everything to be like anyone else, I don’t have to have everything figured out right now. I just need to do one thing until it’s what I want it to be and then move on to the next thing. Everything’s a lot easier when you’re taking it one step at a time. You don’t have to run forward, you just have to move at whatever pace you can. Push yourself, be better, just never bring yourself down because in the end, the only one who’s stopping you is you.
So yeah, I’m the jealous type. I’m totally the jealous type. But this is how I stop. This is how I stop wasting my time comparing and just start doing.
Photo by Brooke Cagle