We live in a world where competition is accepted as a way of life by most people. It seems to exist in all facets of society – the workplace, the dating world, and even in recreational sports. In many cases, competition can be fun and stimulating, as long as it does not activate our shadow side.
The shadow side originates from a belief that resources are limited and that we have to fight against each other for it. At this level, we are being influenced by our instinctual drive to be a “survivor of the fittest”. In order to stay ahead of the pack, we feel the need to constantly look over our shoulder and watch what others are doing.
If we are not cognizant of this thought process, we can easily slip into a sense of deprivation and self-pity every time we compare ourselves to people who seem to be doing better than us. Under this negative influence, we’re more prone to notice people with better-looking bodies, more exciting careers, or bigger paychecks.
This is a juvenile tendency that dates back to our younger years when we did not have the maturity or insight to perceive it as a dysfunctional way of being. If we weren’t proactive about solidifying our sense of self and building our inner strength, this dysfunction can metastasize into a fully blown disease by the time we reach adulthood.
It grows into a green-eyed monster, which infiltrates a person’s system with toxic feelings of jealousy and envy. Individuals who are not conscious of what is going on within them can become consumed by these emotions and act out on them.
Jealousy brings out the worst in people and might even make them want to sabotage the success and happiness of others by stealing career opportunities, partners and money. They might even engage in backstabbing, gossiping, rude behavior, or anything that’ll put the other person’s happiness in jeopardy.
What’s important to realize is that people who engage in this kind of behavior always end up hurting themselves the most. A compulsive need to compare oneself to another has a corrosive effect on our spirit and can drain our vitality and zest for life. It causes high-levels of anxiety and a loss of precious time, which could have been put to better use.
I personally don’t believe that competitive people are vicious or evil in any way. I see them as being wounded and unaware that there are deeper underlying issues within them that need to be addressed. Beneath their frustration is a cry for validation and a deep need to feel significant in the eyes of others.
Like any other wound, it needs to be handled with care and with a clear understanding on how it should be treated. The root cause of the pain needs to be addressed, and negative behavior patterns need to be transformed so that the affected individual can finally be free from the detrimental grips of envy.
If you are someone who feels weighed down by this ego-driven need to compare yourself with others, here is a basic outline of the steps that you can take to begin moving in a more positive direction:
- Get to the root of your pain: Our insecurities fuel our urge to compare. These insecurities may have developed in our younger years because of experiences that made us feel unworthy. It is important that we acknowledge this pain and heal it, either with the help of a counselor, psychiatrist or a coach. We can also work on our healing by meditating, journaling about our feelings, or reading inspirational books.
- Develop an abundance mindset: If we believe that there isn’t enough for everyone, we will constantly be on “alert mode”, making sure that others aren’t getting ahead of us. Not only is this exhausting but it also blocks any kind of goodness from entering our life. According to the Law of Attraction, we will only attract prosperity into our life if we genuinely believe that there is an abundance of opportunities out there that can be enjoyed by everyone, including us.
- Understand that everyone’s path is unique: Everyone comes into this world with a unique destiny and life path. Each of us has our own life curriculum with individualized lessons to learn. For this reason, comparing ourselves to others is redundant and only distracts us from what we should be accomplishing in our own lives. Our aim should be to focus all our attention and energy on our own endeavors so that we can make the most of our journey on Earth.
- Set your own goals and standards: Instead of using others’ accomplishments as a benchmark for success, we can replace it with our own standards. We can set goals that keep us on track so that we become better than we were the day before. In this way, we can make steady progress towards reaching our highest potential, and take the time to nurture our gifts and overcome any obstacle that stands in our way.
One of my favorite creatures in the animal kingdom is the lion. The lion has a majestic presence that makes every other animal fear and notice it wherever it goes. It walks with an attitude of pride and confidence because it knows how powerful and capable it is. It knows that it has the strength and competence to not only survive but to rule over any territory that it treads on.
I believe that we all have an “inner lion” within us which we can unleash only if we are open to unabashedly sharing the best parts of ourselves with the world.
All my best on your journey,
Question for you: How often do you find you are comparing yourself to others? How do you feel whenever you do this? What steps can you take to stop comparing yourself to others?
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