An honest discussion about comparison and jealousy
We’ve seen all the quotes. We talk about things like ‘championing one another’ and #communityovercompetition, but how do we genuinely do that when we see her? She's climbing the so-called ladder of ‘success’ - it seems like multiple opportunities are being thrown her way. Her brand and reputation are thriving. Not only is she profitable, she’s popular. She’s doing what you want to be doing. She’s got it all - so it would seem. The job. The man. The wardrobe. How could you not be jealous of her?
Think of that same girl again - the girl everyone so desperately wants to be. She gets home after a long day of work (or perhaps she is even working from home and finally crawls into bed after hustling at her screen for 16 hours straight), she starts flicking through Instagram and it begins...
She’s constantly comparing herself to the hundreds that she’s following. Her mind is fixated on the six to seven figure #girlboss who’s been working 10 years longer than she has been building her career - but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that woman's got what she doesn’t. She scrolls through endless pictures of fashion bloggers, photographers and entrepreneurs who seem to have the ‘dream life’. She feels she doesn’t measure up and frustration, discontentment and jealousy start to settle in and make home in her heart. And then her best friend calls and tells her she just got engaged... Oh and another friend texts her to say she's just booked a three-month trip to Europe... and the dangerous cycle continues.
So how do you actually cultivate genuine praise and celebration for others when they succeed and everything seems to be going right for them? Even when things are going not-so right for you?
Over the last few months and probably years, I’ve seen countless friends and distant followers continually climb higher and higher into their dreams and pursue their passions. And for the most part, I must say I’ve been happy for them. Honestly, I have been. But, and that’s a big but… I’ve still had to deal with the struggles of my own insecurity, inadequacies and inferiority.
I don’t believe you will ever be completely ‘jealousy-free’ on this earth. There are always going to be great people doing great things, and there is always going to be opportunity for fear and envy to bubble up - there will always to be feelings that arise to the surface. This is not a bad thing, this is just your heart’s way of telling you what’s going on inside your body so that you can address it and move forward. The longer you push it down and ignore it, the deeper it grows and the harder it is to move on. However, you can put some personal boundaries in place and take a proactive approach toward these feelings when they rise.
What’s my perception of social media?
Let’s just knock this one out of the park from the get-go. Steven Furtick says it best:
The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes to everyone else’s highlight reel.
We have to see social media for what it truly is - a place to share our best moments, memories and materialistic things. If you find yourself being sucked into the black hole that is misery and discontentment, give yourself a break. Take a day or even a week to detox from following what people are saying/doing/buying and take time to reflect back on your purpose and vision.
Is this admiration or obsession?
Being inspired by another person’s life or work is completely fine, and even encouraged - even if what they’re doing is similar to your own dreams. But there is a fine line between admiring someone’s work and obsessing over them. It’s one thing to follow along with your favourite inspirational bloggers, creatives and speakers but when that admiration turns into constantly checking up on them, analysing their every post and picture, forever scrolling through their feed and becomes more focused on their work than your own - that's unhealthy. Keep your heart in check by staying in prayer and even talking to a few close friends about your struggles. We’re in this together. #fistbump
Stay in your lane.
Just like each person in a 100 metre sprint race has their own lane, you have your own lane in life. We’re all different - do you really want to be doing what that other girl is doing anyway? I remember a time I got so caught up in someone else’s work because they were becoming so successful and thriving in their business. I slowly started to take my eyes off of my own work and began to envy something I didn’t even want - it was not my race or my mission, not even close. Sometimes we just need to slow down and really be honest with ourselves as to why we are feeling the way we are. Check yourself before you wreck yourself.
Intentionally go out of your way to celebrate them.
We’ve all experienced what it feels like to be praised and supported through something that is really important to us, something that we’ve put many hours of practice and energy into. Let us too, be those encouraging voices that other women need to hear. It may not always flow naturally - sometimes you’ll have to challenge yourself to genuinely be happy for the other person - but I have faith that the more you do it, the more you’ll mean it. Remember, 'a rising tide lifts all boats'.
What does God say about you?
How often do we forget to run to the ultimate source of our identity, purpose and calling? He made you. He knows you - every little detail, every thought, feeling and emotion - not to mention all the plans and dreams for your life… Don’t you think He knows what’s good for you and where you need to be? Trust in him and trust the timing of your life - He’s got you, my dear.
Chloe Somerfield is a Life Coach, Stylist and the Founder of Soul & Sparkle – an online hub of inspiration and empowerment for the everyday young woman. Through her blog, personal coaching and upcoming workshops, she inspires women all over to live with fun and intention, while overcoming their fears and insecurities. When she isn’t busy building her business, you’ll find Chloe either writing songs, inviting her girls over for tea or going on road trips with her husband, Ryan.