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3 Crucial Differences Between You and the Person You’re Jealous of

Close the gap with some minor tweaks.


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Max Phillips

2 years ago | 4 min read

Jealousy is a bitch.

When things aren’t going well, I often compare my inadequacies against my friend’s successes. Way to rub some sandpaper on your already tough time, Max.

For example, when I graduated from university, I couldn’t find a job. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, so I felt lost. Meanwhile, many of my friends were starting exciting careers. From my perspective, they had a state-of-the-art GPS, and I was stuck out at sea.

Comparing yourself to others is only a good idea if you want to feel good about yourself or offer some perspective. The more you do it, the bolder your shortcomings become.

The easier it is to see those, the harder it is to see your successes.

Once you stop unnecessarily comparing yourself to others, you’ll notice your path lights up like a neon yellow brick road. It’s time to put on your bright red Jordans and skip down it.

1) Their Path Is Completely Different From Yours

A few of my friends are in accounting. Immediately after graduation, they started a well-paid graduate scheme, igniting their careers in the process. I was (and still am) proud of them. But I couldn’t escape that niggling feeling.

Why couldn’t I have that?

The more I considered that, the worse things became. I started doubting my choice of degree and maintained a dialogue of self-loathing. Matters got worse when I started working in retail again. I felt inadequate.

But as time wore on, I realised I was wasting my energy. So I started focusing on myself, and soon enough, I felt okay with where I was headed in life. Here’s how you can do it too.

Firstly, think about small talk. When you next encounter some, really listen. Do you ever see anyone stray beyond the formula?

“How’re things?”

“Good, yourself?”

“Yeah, not too bad, thanks.”

Sound familiar? Now think to yourself, how often do you lie because you can’t be bothered to get into the details of how you actually feel? Probably quite a lot — I have too.

Here’s the thing — if you’ve done it, then the person you compare yourself with has. Just as you’ve got things going on behind closed doors, so have they.

So when you compare yourself to someone else, you’re likely comparing your inadequacies with their highlights. They might hate the job you wish you had, or they might’ve fallen out of love in the relationship you deemed infallible.

I know this because said friends in said respectable jobs have spoken of their admiration for taking the time to choose a career I want, even if it’s risky.

Just remember: you never know what someone else’s actual circumstances are, so comparing yours is not worth your time. Focus on your path, not theirs.

2) They’re (Probably) Not Thinking About You

Why should they? If the person you’re comparing yourself to is dealing with their issues behind closed doors (as you are), then chances are they’re not thinking about you.

Why does this help? Well, it’s freeing. You realise as I did that your energy is barrelling down a street toward a dead end, and it’s time to turn around and find your way.

But, still, it’s easy to say you should realise people aren’t thinking about you as much as you might think. How do you do it?

Well, I started by thinking about how many of my friends were taking a similar career path to mine. To my surprise, it was none. Everyone else had gone down a similar route, so why did I think about them? They were likely thinking about the people down a similar path to them to gauge their progress.

It’s all about specificity. If you find you’re not alone, go deeper. Did you do the same degree? Did you do the same subjects at school? What do your parents do in comparison to yours?

These specifics go a long way in shaping a certain degree of individuality which is essential to start focusing on your path.

Think of this thought process as a set of Matryoshka dolls. Within every doll lies a smaller one, and with every specific aspect of life lies a more detailed and defined part of your identity.

Use it to rid yourself of comparison.

3) You’re Reading This Article

Okay, the cat’s out of the bag. I want you to read this article. It benefits me, and hopefully you. But, by this stage, you might’ve got the idea now.

I’d hazard a guess that you clicked on this article because you frequently compare yourself to other people. You might not have seen it as an issue before now, but reading this made you realise that comparing yourself to others brings you down.

I wrote this because I’ve been there so many times. I currently write this from a place of inner peace, to quote Kung fu Panda 2. However, I’m still guilty of comparison from time to time. For example, last week, I got annoyed that other writers were acquiring freelance clients, but I struggled.

But as usual, that didn’t help.

This article is a reminder to you and me. We need to stop comparing our achievements and failures to others. While it might feel like an excellent way to quantify our lives, it’ll only cheapen the lessons we learn.

The Alternative

It’s time to put yourself out of misery. Instead of comparing yourself to others, be in awe of them.

It’s a switch I didn’t understand the impact of until recently. A close friend of mine constantly surprises me. Since we grew closer, I understood the need to compliment the people closest to me more often.

As she starts a degree, it makes me want to learn more, whereas a year or so ago, I would’ve used her achievements and qualities to criticise myself. It’s the little mindset switches that go a long way.

Awe is always better than comparison. The only person you should be comparing yourself with is in the mirror. It may sound like inspiration porn, but it’s true.

Kick yesterday you’s butt.

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