Has anyone had a friend before that is very obviously competing with you on every level? Someone who clearly tries to do things before you (to win or beat you to it), look better than you, have more than you, or maybe just reach a life hurdle before you and maybe even rub it in your face? Sometimes we can get so caught up in it that we don’t realize what we are doing. And honestly, it’s a very unhealthy way to be in any type of relationship. It all stems from insecurity and lack of self-love.
Competition Among Friends
I had a friend years ago who was a workout queen. She carefully monitored what she ate and how much she exercised. She looked people up and down when she met them, probably mentally measuring their body fat percentage and comparing herself to them. Well she could be a lot of fun too, and we had a great time together. But soon I realized that while we had a great time together, when it came to weight and appearance, she wanted to always make sure that she looked better than me (in her eyes at least). I remember a time that I lost a bit of weight, and I was out for drinks with her and some of her other friends, and I overheard one of them say to her, “I think Jen is skinnier than you”. She hissed at her saying, “No she’s not!” While I giggled to myself as I turned my back (knowing how she was), I hated to have a friend that couldn’t be happy for me, but instead felt insecure and like she had to compete with me. And in hindsight, I realized that I enjoyed that moment. That I, too, was competing with her. We’ve all been there with someone on some level.
Our Ego Driven Insecurities
People can complete with you in so many ways though, and it usually stems from their/our own insecurities. What about the people who brag endlessly about their new car, the vacation they recently took, how much money they make, or upgrades to their new home? I’ve always been floored by people who do this in a relatively obnoxious and insensitive way. I mean, I was happy for them, but they should have known by my lifestyle at the time that those weren’t really appropriate topics, or at least to stop and ask me about my life and show you care in some way rather than endlessly rubbing my nose in your ‘awesome’ life. I think this type of bragging has become sadly normal though in the USA. Everyone is very into ‘showing off’ and bragging. No one really considers how it makes anyone else feel because everyone has become very insecure and have resorted to living through their ego instead of their heart.
Materialism and Debt
I truly think though that this is part of our societal insecurities around materialism. Everyone feels like they have to one-up everyone, always buying bigger and better things, and showing off their best stuff all the time. We spend ourselves into debt to play the game. I recently saw a statistic showing that 87% of Americans are in debt. Why can’t we focus on paying it off and living within our means? Because we are too scared that people won’t want to be our friends or associate with us. We are worried that we won’t appear to have our life together and be ‘successful’. What a mess we are creating! Even if you aren’t in debt, if you are wrapped up in materialism and appearances, you are part of the problem.
We are so ‘In the Game’
In all this materialistic chaos we forget to be authentic, or we are just too scared to not appear to be ‘perfect’. We are so busy trying to look and play a part. To be worthy of the life we are likely acting out and not really enjoying. Too stressed trying to pay for all the things, but not let anyone know how in debt we are. We forget to ask how others are. Or we don’t even notice. We are out of touch and disconnected. We forget about putting ourselves in their shoes for a moment and finding compassion. Sadly, we are so busy comparing, competing, and worrying about how we appear. We quite literally lose track of what’s most important – caring about and for others in our lives. Being happy for each other in the good times, and supportive during challenges too. And being loving and accepting of imperfection. Especially in ourselves.
It seems like a lot of the competition in our society is around accumulating ‘stuff’ and who looks better, am I right? It’s about as shallow as it gets. What we should really be proud of is our philanthropy, our conservation, our resilience, our strength, our ability to be authentic, the depth of our love and appreciation, and mostly our compassion. Who cares if we all look different and live life a different way? It’s a matter of appreciating that and not judging it. We need to be sensitive to that for ourselves, and for others.
Unachievable Perfection Leads to Frustration
Is it just me, or do people seem a lot angrier these days? There is more violence, more anger, more frustration. There is a lot of pent up stuff. Is that because we’ve all been made to feel like ‘less than’? Huge failures in the eyes of our society? Like if we don’t have that picture-perfect life that we are a failure? It’s made a lot of people very insecure, and that’s led to a lot of frustration that the perfect life isn’t achievable. When really, our life may be perfect for us, but we can’t see that. We see the perfect happy life others are supposedly living and feel inadequate, frustrated, and for some – even angry. We don’t fit into that box. Most people feel like they can’t just be themselves, because they won’t be accepted. That can lead to depression, anxiety, and frustration.
I believe, at least here in the USA, that people worship materialism and living the picture-perfect life more than anything else. Beautiful people with all the ‘things’ are the most praised and worshiped people in our society. If you have money, you can get away with anything because people admire you for your wealth. And if you are beautiful, that’s about the same. If you are beautiful AND wealthy? Well, you pretty much have free reign and complete societal worship in that case. People will bend over backwards to get close to you and to praise you. If you add fame to that mix, well, you’ve completed the trifecta of ‘worthiness’ and perfection in the US.
Loving and Accepting Ourselves and Others
I’m not knocking wealth or beautiful people here though – don’t get me wrong. I’m pointing out our unhealthy worship and admiration of it. It’s taking us further and further from loving our own authentic selves. If we look at people’s picture-perfect Instagram pages day after day, our life starts to look pretty bland and unattractive, and we can get pretty down on our own life. And I don’t blame social media here. I think we as a society are misrepresenting ourselves on social media to look more beautiful, happy and wealthy than we are. If we could just be authentic, we would all feel that much more connected. I do think some people are trying to do that right now. And the more that we are kind and compassionate and not judgmental (usually because of our own insecurities) – the more we will all find a higher level of self-love and appreciation for who we are, as well as for who everyone around us is (and all of their differences). Believe it or not, self-love is really at the core of this issue too. If we love and accept ourselves, we can love and accept others. When we feel insecure about ourselves and our life, that’s when we compare, compete, judge, even hate.
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Abundance and Beauty in an Authentic Way
I’d also like to qualify this article by saying that I have no issues with people having money and wealth, or beauty for that matter. I think we should all be open to abundance, and to being our healthiest and happiest and most radiant self by taking good care of ourselves. However, comparison to others is where we all go wrong. Be yourself. If you can just be authentic, help others in your own way, find compassion and kindness for yourself and others – you will attract that abundance in a meaningful way. The flow of money into your life will be beautiful and abundant if you are earning it in a meaningful way that is authentic and kind, and not driven by the desperate desire to have more stuff so that others will like you. Get ego out of the way and love yourself and others in a deeper way, as they are – and as YOU are.
Will this change our societal norms in the USA? Yes, it will. It starts with you. One person at a time. It’s a new awareness. A new, more loving way of treating yourself – accepting who you are and not needing to be perfect. And as you do that for yourself, you will also become more compassionate about others and sensitive to their struggles.
It’s About Your Soul
One last note. You can’t take it with you. Any of it. The car, the house – even the tight skin and gorgeous hair. So, with that in mind, what can you take with you? The feelings that you have, and that you create in others. A heart that is so full of your great love (for yourself too), joy, acceptance and service to others. I promise you, when it’s all over, that is what you WILL take with you. So, live your life with THAT as your priority! How can you love yourself more? And how can you find and show compassion for others? Love and light to all of you! May you find love in your life, in everything you do, and most importantly, in yourself – for yourself.
A book you might like is It’s Not Your Money: How to Live Fully from Divine Abundance by Tosha Silver
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