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When You Don’t Get That Thing You Really Want

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

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  • Nicole says:

    Wow. I needed this reminder today. (Heck, I need it most days.) I get so resentful when I look at what others have, and at how little I (seem to) have.

    Thank you for a great post. Oh, and by the way, I do believe that when one opportunity falls through, it’s because it would’ve prevented you from being available for that *even better* opportunity that is coming down the pike to you. I’m sure that’s what’s happening with you now!

  • Alyssa says:

    I appreciate your candid and honest remarks. Your blog is a blessing to me.

  • Kandice says:

    I read and recommend your blog to my family and friends because of your ability to be genuine and heartfelt. Even when it’s not pretty. Especially then. I distrust anyone who tells me their life is rainbow unicorns.

    Feeling heartache and disappointment over a missed opportunity…not silly. Even the self-doubt that creeps in.. Not silly.

    I appreciate your voice. It is a blessing in my life. Thank you for sharing it.

  • Shea says:

    I was just talking with my husband about this very thing tonight. Long story short, he really wanted a job at this company where both his brother and a friend worked. The ideal company, pay, opportunities, etc. The job never came no matter how hard he tried. In March, my husband scored a job with a company that has been amazing. His brother has since left the “ideal company” and my husband may be offering a job to the friend with his company.

    Sometimes what looks perfect isn’t, may not be right for us, the right timing, or we just have to be patient for the blessing the Lord has in mind for us. For us it took over 5 years.

  • Gwen says:

    Thanks for this post. I, too, have been caught in that trap. A year of work shortage after work shorage will do that to you. This was a great and timely reminder.

  • Margery says:

    I have actually found that the right kind of comparison can be a blessing.

    Think about the people you ministered to in South Africa. I bet if you compare your lives to theirs, it makes you grateful for all your blessings and fosters generosity.

    If you compare your lives to America’s pioneers, early settlers, or those who lived through the World Wars, it creates a conviction never to complain about anything ever again.

    If we compare in the right way, comparison can foster virtue.

  • Guest says:

    Gosh, this happens to me often. I’m apparently God’s really hard-headed child who has to have things happen again and again and again to really learn it. And yet…every time I’ve *eventually* seen it for the blessing it was. This is just one of many examples, but almost ten years ago there was a job that I just knew was God’s answer to a prayer for us to move closer to family. I was one of the final two candidates. I didn’t get it. I was not only sad. I was angry. This job truly seemed like the perfect fit both for my skills and also allowing me to work from home and move closer to family. What did the other person have that I didn’t? Why wouldn’t He work this out to meet this desire we really believed was our calling?

    So a few months later I got a different job that allowed me to work from home and for us to move across the country to be closer to family. I didn’t think much more about the first job until a couple of years into my new job I was asked to briefly work on a project that involved working with the group I had applied to be part of. I came out of that praising the Lord that I had not gotten that job. The content area was SO BORING to me and I would have been miserable. It was a gift and things worked out better than they would have had I gotten that job. (Side note but the woman who got it really was great for that role and ENJOYED it! :-))

    I also recently didn’t get selected for a volunteer opportunity at our children’s school and thought, gosh, it’s because the other moms are X, Y, Z and I’m not. I still don’t know why I wasn’t selected but I’m so thankful because in the last few months, my husband and I both had unexpected surgeries. It would have been very hard (and exhausting) for me to have fulfilled my obligations with that opportunity while doing what needed to be done for my family and working full time. I of course did not know that these things were on the horizon but God did!

    Sorry for the novel but please know – it isn’t just you! We all do that comparison nonsense . 😉

  • Jennifer says:

    I have a friend who has two sons who are complete opposites and she frets about some of their differences. I have used that quote to her several times as we compare things other than ourselves.

  • Annette says:

    There is a 4wk DVD study by Andy and Sandra Stanley called the comparison trap. It is amazing! I just finished teaching it at our church and also went through it with some mom’s. There is a 28 day devotional to go with it.
    You would probably really like it

  • Dena says:

    I can relate!! I try to remember that God places wise limits on my life. I also think about :
    Psalm 16:6. (New Living Translation)
    The land you have given me is a pleasant land. What a wonderful inheritance.

  • Chris says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Crystal. I found it very encouraging, and so were the comments. I could relate to many of them. I don’t comment often on your blog, but this post was from your heart, I could tell after following you for so many years. I still remember the kindness you showed me almost 2 years ago when I was having health issues, and I hope the comments on this post have helped your heart.

  • Heather says:

    Thank you for this post. I’m going to bookmark it and pull it back up the next time I start ruminating on how I feel less capable than others. Lately I’ve been realizing that comparing myself to others is one of my biggest joy stealers.

  • K Ann Guinn says:

    The struggle is real! 51 and still surprised at emotions and thoughts that seem less than “mature” or “Christian”….. but our flesh is still weak.

    I love your honesty, your gentle admonition and encouragement to choose to believe the truth, and to be grateful and be happy for others, rather than to compare (the natural response of our human nature).

    We are blessed, even when in difficult, “imperfect”, or unplanned circumstances, because God is for us and our good.

    • Thank you so much for your encouragement! And YES! “We are blessed, even when in difficult, “imperfect”, or unplanned circumstances, because God is for us and our good.”

  • Ruth says:

    Thanks so much for sharing honestly! I enjoy reading your blog!

  • Julie Nolta says:

    Great post – – thanks! I fall into the comparison trap so often and it keeps me from putting myself out there. I appreciate the reminder to count my blessings and celebrate others. 🙂

  • My eyes teared up a bit as I relate to this disappointment in myself after a year of blogging. I have so unmet goals, so many “tech things” I don’t understand, and realize it’s because of comparison to successful bloggers. I had high hopes of helping my FT student-husband by monetizing my blog as I’m homeschooling our four children, encouraging others in relationships, and being a guest writer and published author. I know God wants me to be faithful in the small things he’s called me to and I’m encouraged to hear that even though you’re platform is wavelengths larger than mine, we can both face and overcome the discontentment resulting from comparison and find joy in the process!

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