Earlier this week, I didn’t get an opportunity that I was hoping for. I really wanted it. I had hoped it would happen.
But, ultimately, I didn’t make the cut. And when I saw the online influencers who did make the cut, I have to admit that I struggled with self-doubt, insecurity, and comparison.
Why wasn’t I picked? What is wrong with me? Am I not a good enough writer? Am I just not interesting enough? Maybe I’m not funny enough? Maybe I need to change my posts and my videos to be more like xyz blogger?
You guys. I know that all sounds silly and ridiculous. But in the moment, it was very real.
I felt like I just didn’t measure up to this much more interesting, well-spoken, funny, charismatic individuals. All I could see was the fact that I didn’t make the cut. That I didn’t get picked.
Comparison will do that to you. It always does. It will discourage you, tear you down, whispers lies about how you’re not good enough, and will keep you from being able to celebrate other people.
I know that “Comparison is the thief of joy.” I know it all too well. But it doesn’t mean that I’m immune to comparison.
And I’m guessing some of you can relate — especially when it comes to finances. For example:
- Maybe you are really struggling to make ends meet and it’s hard for you to not feel discouraged when you look at someone else and where they are financially compared to where you are.
- Perhaps you are stuck in a job that you really don’t like at all while your friend recently got an amazing new job with incredible pay and hours and benefits that she loves.
- Maybe you look around at your old house with worn down furniture and you feel envious of your relative who recently bought a new house and new furniture.
- Perhaps you are driving an old beater car that has been on its last leg for a long time and you find yourself feeling frustrated that your co-worker was able to buy a shiny new car recently.
- Maybe you’re working so hard to get out of debt and making so many sacrifices to do so and your sister keeps going on and on about how hard it has been to figure out all of the details for trip they are planning to Disney.
In each of these cases, comparison can keep you from being able to celebrate others and something in their life that is exciting. And who gets hurts by this? Ultimately, it’s YOU who gets hurt.
I know that in my case with the recent not-getting-picked situation, I was the one who suffered because of my comparison. I couldn’t be excited that other people got picked. I couldn’t be happy for them.
I couldn’t focus on the amazing blessings in my life or the fact that I get so many incredible opportunities — like the fact that I have a blog that earns a full-time income for our family and that I get to set my own hours and have so much flexibility.
Nope, I couldn’t see any of that. Because I was stuck selfishly comparing myself and feeling sorry for myself and feeling inadequate.
4 Steps to Break Out of the Comparison Funk
When I was stuck in this place of comparison, I quickly recognized how unhealthy and unproductive my mindset was, and here’s what I did instead:
1. Call It For What It Is
I had to acknowledge that I was stuck in the comparison trap.
Sometimes, we can get so self-focused and become victims of our circumstances that we don’t even realize that we are the ones who are bringing a lot of frustration on ourselves because we’re focusing on comparison versus cultivating contentment.
2. Remind Yourself of the Truth
Your worth is not dependent upon what other people think of you, how much money you have, the position you have at work, how many people read your blog, or whether or not you get asked to participate in that opportunity.
Don’t buy into the belief that says you don’t have anything to offer. Don’t believe the lie that says you were passed over for that promotion or have chronic illness or struggle with infertility or are in a difficult marriage or are still single in your 40’s because you aren’t good enough.
The truth is: you have gifts and talents and unique perspective that no one else on the planet has. You are the only YOU in existence.
The world needs your story. The world needs your gifts. The world needs you.
I reminded myself of this this past week and reminded myself that while my gifts and skills and talents are different than others and while my blog and social media and the way I do live videos aren’t for everyone, it is for some people and I need to focus on being ME — instead of thinking that maybe if I’m more like other people then I’ll get chosen for certain opportunities.
3. Choose to Celebrate Others
This is sometimes hard to do. I get it. When someone gets the very thing we were wishing and hoping for, the last thing we want to do is be happy for them.
But there’s so much joy in being committed to being a cheerleader versus being a criticizer. There are plenty of opportunities to go around.
And honestly? Sometimes the very thing we want so badly is actually the thing that could end up wrecking our life — or at least making things really difficult.
Last week, I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself for getting “passed over” and instead focus on being excited for the people who got chosen. It was amazing how this simple act changed my heart and mindset.
4. Count Your Blessings
We all — no matter where we are in life — have something to be grateful for. And those of us who readily have access to clean water, have food in our bellies, know how to read and write, have a roof over our head, and have the ability to find gainful employment opportunities… we have SO much to be grateful for!
I decided to stop feeling frustrated over not getting this opportunity and instead choose to stop and count my blessings. And oh my goodness! What a long list of blessings I have!
You guys, these four steps made such a difference for me! And while I am embarrassed to share this story with you (especially because it’s silly that I’m 36 years old and still struggling with these kinds of things!), but I wanted to share it with you in hopes that it would encourage you the next time you are tempted to feel left out or discouraged or frustrated because of comparison.
P.S. Need some further encouragement? Read my article from 2015 called When She Gets That Thing You Really Wanted.
Photo credit: Pen and Paint Etsy Shop