I stare at people. All the time.
I watch them as they walk by me and try to envision how much better their life must be.
I create this elaborate story in my mind of how much happier their life must be.
I watch wives with their husbands… husbands with their wives.
I watch them love each other and hold hands in public. I get sick from imagining that I 0might never get to see something like that.
Did I not deserve happiness like they had?
I look at friends who are well off and not constantly stressed about money and wonder how much better my life would be if I could step into their situation for a minute.
Just one minute.
One minute without my stress, without my anxiety, without my financial woes, without the loneliness of a failed marriage.
Just one minute.
But I must live with this, and the salt in my wounds is watching everyone else around me flourish while I’m sinking into my misery.
Then I realized…
My misery was optional.
I couldn’t understand that concept at first, but the more I realized how I was harming myself, the more I found ways to help me battle those thoughts.
What I’ve learned… above all… is that…
Comparison kills happiness.
Comparison kills hopes, dreams, marriages, ambitions, drive, motivation- and the list goes on!
Therefore, comparison has a way of robbing us of our joy at the moment and true gratefulness for all we have because we’re worried about what is going on in someone else’s life.
I am so guilty of this!
I assume everyone is living a life better than I am simply because I’m looking at what they want to show me.
Here is how I defeat the green-eyed monster of jealousy and comparison to find true happiness.
7 essential tips to maximize your happiness and live your best life!
First, gratefulness needs to be more than just a moment. It needs to be a whole lifestyle change. I have an app on my phone that sends me reminders to jot down the things I’m grateful for. Therefore, I make lists of at least 3 things that I find irreplaceable in my life and keep that list close.
Action step: Write down 5 things you are grateful for today. Why are those things so special to you? Journal about the blessing those things are to you. Then, find a way to make this a habit. Do you need a notebook or a jar to keep them in? Find a way that works for you to keep reminding you of what you’re grateful for.
Talk about it
Comparison can bring you to a point of no return in your mental health. You can find yourself becoming jealous of good friends and treating them differently because of how you’re feeling. Sometimes, jealousy and comparison can cause depression and anxiety and may make you feel like life isn’t fair. Being open with your friends or counselor about how you’re feeling can help bring perspective to your situation.
Action step: Talk to a trusted friend or counselor about what you’re feeling. How is comparing yourself to others affecting your momentum forward?
Compare yourself… to yourself.
This is a wonderful time to track how far you’ve come. Who you are today is not the same as who you were 5 or 10 years ago. You are growing, learning, and taking experiences that are changing your perspective and concept of life. This is a great time to really track how far you’ve come and how much farther you must go.
Action Step: write a poem or a letter reintroducing yourself to yourself. What is some advice you would give to your younger self? How can you honor your growth and changes that you didn’t expect would occur?
There’s room for everyone
If there’s anything that helps us in fostering envy of others is the concept that success is an enormous pie. You may believe that some get bigger slices than others which leaves you with whatever life may hand you. As overwhelming as that perception may be, it’s actually not true! You will achieve the success that you strive for! If you are relentless in your goals, then whatever you imagine can come to fruition. However, believing someone else’s success somehow threatens yours is a dysfunctional mindset and will keep you stuck where you are. So, publish that book [we can never have too many books] or start that Youtube channel [there’s plenty of room for that] and make your waves!
Action Step: If you could do anything in the world, your wildest dream, what would that be? What is a baby step that you can take today to turn that dream into a goal? Journal about it first to get your thoughts together, then share it with a friend to hold you accountable.
Pray for others and be happy for them
When I see friends and family flourishing, I pray for them. It took serious thought and training to do it, but with some accountability, I have been able to shift my view on how I pray for others. People all around you are fighting a battle you can’t see. Although they may put on a brave show of a perfect marriage or a perfect home, they may be struggling with fighting all the time or dealing with crushing debt. I pray for the unseen. I ask God to meet a need that they are not disclosing to others. And if everything looks well, I pray overflow for them! I pray that they don’t have enough room to receive the blessings he sends! And imagine… Someone could be praying that prayer over you!
Action Step: Pen a prayer for a friend that you know intimately. Ask God for an abundance in their success and to fill the needs that they may not be voicing. Get very specific with the information you know and intercede for this friend.
In the book “Lost Connections” by Johann Hari, the author provides a meditation that can radiate joy in your life through and through. However, I will detail some of it here and hopefully, it will also help with the daily fight of comparison and finding true happiness.
*Imagine something great happening to you, like falling in love. Feel that emotion through and through.
*Then, imagine that great thing happening to a close friend. Keep feeling that same level of love through you.
*Now, imagine that great thing happening to a stranger. Continue to feel the rush of love in you.
*Then, imagine that great thing happening to someone who isn’t very nice. Still, feel that rush of love radiating through you.
*Now, imagine that great thing happening to someone you are enemies with or think is the worst person imaginable. Continue to feel that love radiating through you.
Action Step: This is an extremely difficult activity to do. However, once you’ve made it to the last level, you will find yourself no longer comparing yourself, but just being happy for others. Meditate like this for 15 minutes a day and watch how it changes your perspective!
Trust God to meet your needs
Last, and the hardest, is trusting God’s timing. We really try to retain control of our lives and when we feel out of control, we are terrified. However, if we are intentionally leaving things to God’s will, we will have whatever it is we need.
God, as our father, is always looking for good gifts to give us that we deserve. You might be praying for a man and that may not be the best thing. You might be praying for a job that could eventually lay you off.
When God is silent on His answer to your prayers, there is a protection in that silence. There is room for you to grow to be the person you need to be for that prayer request. There is hope that God is going to do exactly what He says He will and will only give you what you need in the perfect time.
When you see that couple sharing a plate at a restaurant while you eat alone, trust Him.
When you see friends buying their homes and their new cars and you’re still renting, trust Him.
When you see people graduating from school, but you haven’t been to a registration office yet, trust Him.
When people around you are having babies and you are still waiting for your blessing, trust Him.
God is in it all. He’s in the pain of the wait and the joy of the receiving.
Action Step: journal a prayer to God of gratefulness for what He is going to do for you and how he’s going to fill your needs. Thank Him for where you are right now, hopeful for His interception in your life, but content that you are where you are supposed to be.
This Post Has 37 Comments
Such good reminders! I strongly feel that people can choose to be happy, it just depends on their attitude and the way they think!
Great list. I absolutely agree with gratitude and to not compare! The others helped remind me – thanks
Wonderful tips on helping to achieve happiness. Writing down what you’re grateful for is something that should be done daily and I hope to do better in that way.
These are such great tips! I love to people watch when I can! Watching them walk by, and wondering what their story is.
Comparison is a sneaky thing. It creeps into our thinking in many ways and steals our joy. You have a good list of suggestions for being aware of the comparison trap.
Well put. It’s true that when you are envious of someone else you slowly lose yourself into misery. You see it time and again
I love the tip to compare yourself to yourself. I heard a quote a while back that really resonated with me. “You can’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle or end.” It does us no good to compare to others…what we really have to focus on is if we are improving ourselves.
I love that quote! It’s so crazy how we assume that people are in the same time frame as us… or the same lane! Comparing is useless because you never know where someone is in their story. Thank you so much for sharing that!
I love the point of view you take in this post. It is important to “trust Him” but also know that what we see (or what we perceive) is not always what it appears. People hide a lot from others and if you really look at everything, the more we find each of us to be different the more we are the same.
That is absolutely true! People will only show you their best and not their brokenness. But we all have brokenness!
I really love this blog post. The opening really drew me in. Great job!
I’m truly honored! Thank you so much for reading!
Trusting God to meet your needs– yes! I love it 🙂
Great post and I believe we all need this – no one is every without the need to work on ultimate happiness. Comparing yourself to yourself – oh yeah, love this!
Great information and especially the part of about “trusting Him.” For sure. Thanks for sharing.
Perfect timing for this post to find me. I am in a transition right now and opening myself up. I needed this as a little reminder. Thank you!
Yes, yes! I have come to these same realizations lately. You can’t compare your life to others. They are going through stuff as well. No one’s life is perfect. While I might want the marriage and kids that my friends have, I am so very happy that they have it because they are deserving of it. Took me most of my adult life to realize that I don’t need to be jealous because it doesn’t get me anywhere.
Great tips!! So many things in our lives that can bring us happiness that we might overlook!
I love the idea of only comparing yourself with yourself. These are all great ideas!
These are great reminders. Great post and I love how you wrote it. Very creative.
I love your post I feel sometimes we just do not know how to get back to that happy place or even a new one.
Absolutely love this post and I wholeheartedly agree with your points.
It is so true that comparison is a horrible thief of happiness. Good for you for changing your mindset! And thanks for sharing such a valuable list!
I love that there really is room for everyone!
Good thoughts. I like the trust in God part.
Beautiful read! I can tell you put a lot of work and thought in to this. Thank you so much for sharing 🙂
Wonderful tips! The action items were great on providing ways to handle each and to achieve happiness.
I love how you mention there is room for everyone!! Yes yes yes!!
Good for you for learning to stop comparing; we have what we are meant to have, and He is definitely in control of that.
Great article. I think we are all guilty of comparison at times. Most people post all of their positives on social media, and we don’t always really know what other people are struggling with. Everyone has something they are working on in their life. I love the encouragement to think of things we are grateful for, praying for others, and of course trusting God, which is something I have to work on every day.
It was great to read about your realization and process. Such helpful tips for everyone!
Great list! when I learned to celebrate with and for others, rather than be jealous, life got so much better!
Excellent post. Living in happiness is a choice. And being able to consistently choose happiness requires an inner journey that then manifests outwardly.
This is a great post and I am definitely taking this to heart! I struggle with anxiety on high levels and refocusing really helps.
Great advice here! I truly believe that people choose to be happy!
You’ve included some really great ideas! It is so hard sometimes to stop comparing to others around us!
You definitely choose happiness but it is definitely difficult when you first break up.