I’m really struggling with comparing myself to others. It’s so easy to convince myself that everyone is happier than I am, and it usually feels as if everyone else’s dreams are coming true except mine. I feel that this is an unhealthy train of thought to keep having because I only feel discouraged and like I’ve failed. But I don’t know how to break out of it. Any advice for fighting it off?
This is definitely something that everyone struggles with at some point, and it is not good for you. You already know that, and you have a very good handle on the lie at the heart of envy- that everyone is blissfully happy all the time, except you. Of course that isn’t really true. There are people who have everything they think they want who are miserable.
I think you hit on a key phrase in your question- “convince yourself.” It is easy to let those negative thought run wild on your mind. If it sounds like I am speaking from experience there, trust that instinct. The way to break that cycle is to start talking back to those thoughts. You know, intellectually, that everybody you know is not blissfully happy all the time. And you know that having the things they have wouldn’t immediately cure all your problems. You have to remind yourself of those things so they can work from your intellect into your mind, into your bones.
Proverbs 14:30 says this about envy: “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” Getting ahold of jealous is very important to growing in your walk. There will always be someone who has something you don’t, so jealousy keeps you on a treadmill. You wear yourself out, but you don’t get anywhere.
Jealousy is the ultimate distraction. If you feel like you aren’t doing the things you want to be doing, that is a fixable problem. It may not be easy, but there are steps you can take to get to living the life that God has for you. The fact that other people have lives that seem easy and/or glamorous is not a fixable problem. That just breeds bitterness and feeling sorry for yourself.
The first step is changing your mindset, which takes time, but you can start today. God has something good for your life specifically. Just because someone else is getting something good doesn’t mean that there is less for you, but again it is easy to let that kind of thought creep in. Keep the focus on finding what God has for you. Nobody else is involved in that, so getting wound up about what someone else is doing is a waste of time and effort. God has something awesome for your life, believe me when I tell you that you want to get to that without any wasted time.
-Matt from The Bridge