Us vs. Them

Us vs. Them

One of the worst things I do is when I start comparing myself to other people.

I’m sure we’ve all been there. We look at someone else and see only what they have, and we lack. We become envious. We feel crappy about ourselves, because in the comparison, we inevitably come up short.

Why is that person more [__] than me? Why does that person have more [__] than me? What am I doing wrong? What am I not doing enough of?


It’s so incredibly destructive. And yet I fall into that pit over and over again. Not all the time. Not constantly. But occasionally, and sometimes quite hard.

Usually when I’m feeling lousy about something with respect to my own life. And even when my life is fine but there’s some old, nagging business from the past nibbling at my soul.

At times like those, I have to stop and remind myself of two things:

gratitudeOne. Everyone has their own path. That person whom I envy at this particular moment has their own path, and I have my own path. I can’t walk theirs, and they can’t walk mine.

Two. I need to get some gratitude. Because I’m betting that at some point, some time, someone looks at me and sees something that they lack, and thinks to themselves: I wish I had what she has.

I have so much good in my life. I need to focus on that, and not on my perceived shortcomings. I need to make a list of the things I have, and for which I’m grateful. I even bet that I have things in my life that the person I envy at this particular moment doesn’t have in their life, and would love to have.

I need to bring the focus back to me, and stop focusing on other people. And I need to ask my higher power to guide me along my path – the path that is mine.

[photo found here]

  • Margrét Þ. Johnson
    Posted at 22:51h, 24 April Reply

    Svo fallegt. Svo satt. Takk.

  • laura h
    Posted at 13:10h, 25 April Reply

    So true. Thanks, important stuff. I have trouble this this as well.

  • Susan
    Posted at 14:33h, 25 April Reply

    I once heard something that helped: Stop comparing my insides to other people’s outsides.

  • Amy
    Posted at 17:32h, 25 April Reply

    I was just going to write exactly what Susan said above. It is a phrase I live by… you never know what demons lurk behind a shiny exterior. My mother always used to say that everybody has a “story” that makes them who they are.

  • Matthew Trinetti
    Posted at 16:15h, 27 April Reply

    Thanks for this reminder Alda…also Susan & Amy’s comments are great. I always try to remind myself that all this stuff takes constant practice and discipline — like physical fitness, you don’t just workout once and suddenly you’re healthy (unfortunately).

    I guess the one good thing envy does is show us who we want to become and what we want (or think we want).

  • Kate
    Posted at 18:40h, 29 April Reply

    Alda, this post is very spot on! And also, you seem to have courage to admit having these moments. I guess, it’s just a part of being human. How we perceieve people/world around us, and how we can learn about ourselves and draw conclusions. I quite often find myself in this ‘comparison’ trap which is very frustratig, but after a while I look for positives and try to see my own way as unique… as it is with its flaws and more importantly happy aspects…

  • alda
    Posted at 10:34h, 30 April Reply

    Thanks everyone. It’s always good to find resonance. 🙂

  • rod hart
    Posted at 08:24h, 31 May Reply

    I know I’m slow off the mark here, but reading this post I realised I wasn’t given to envy. So I worked at it and came up with two possibilities.
    1) Tennis commentators, who get paid to travel to the tournaments and watch matches I’d love to watch live.
    2) A certain Alda, who has so arranged it that comments to her posts show up after them, whereas comments to mine end up classified as feedback, which I can read but no one else can. And who, in any case, is better looking than I am.

  • alda
    Posted at 10:23h, 31 May Reply

    Thanks Rod. That made me smile. 🙂

    As for your comment dilemma, I’m sure you just need to configure your settings somewhere.

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