I am slowly learning that the only place that the competition for being a good and worthy person exists is in my own mind.
I am slowly learning that every time being “better than” someone or something else motivates me, it’s because I don’t have my own motivations.
I am slowly learning that the only person I am in a competition with is myself. Not only because the only thing I should compare myself to is my past, but because competing with other people is something that breeds from fear and insecurity.
I am slowly learning that the only person who is judging me is me – and I am slowly learning that there’s no prize for winning this.
When you are in competition with someone in your mind, you are not trying to be better than them. You are trying to re-define your self-image comparatively. You don’t feel good enough on your own, and so you have to grift off of the perceived inadequacy of someone else.
It’s not really a competition and it never was. It was just you telling yourself that there’s no way for you to feel good about something on your own, and so at least if you can be better than someone else, you’re okay.
It is unsustainable. It keeps you in a war with yourself. It makes you resistant to change. It makes you not want to succeed because you don’t want to be back on the battlefield.
If you can imagine your best, highest and most loving self, they aren’t sitting around thinking at least I’ve got more than (so-and-so). Of course they aren’t. They are happy on their own. The less happy you are, the more you need other people to be.
The competition exists for an imaginary audience in your mind. It exists for a faceless group of “people.” The secret is that those people are a projection of how you really feel. It’s the safer way to express your suppressed feelings about worthiness.
Winning the competition in our minds does not improve us, it degrades us. It gives a false high and forces us to keep leveling our worth against someone else’s.
More importantly, it does not move our lives forward. It drives us toward working against others, which almost always means we aren’t working for the true betterment of ourselves.
If you need envy, jealousy, and superiority to drive you, you should take a good, hard look at what you’re moving toward.
What needs to change isn’t how hard you try. You don’t need to augment your willpower. You have to be very, very honest with yourself about what it is you think you want and why it is that deep down, you actually don’t.
It means you also have to be honest about the ways in which your life is not fulfilling you. They teach you in middle school that bullies are the people who are suffering most, but when you’re the bully and the victim, the answer is that you’re not giving yourself something you need. You’re not building the life you really want.
So instead of wondering what would incite the envy of everyone you know, dream of what would feel so good you wouldn’t be able to stop and think of their opinions for a second. Imagine what would be so gratifying that even if you lost every pretend competition in your mind, it wouldn’t matter.
Imagine what it would take to be blissfully happy even if you weren’t the smartest, happiest, most successful person in the room. The reality is if you want to live by comparisons, you never will be anyway. There will always be someone next to whom you feel inferior.
The only person you are fighting is yourself. And when you’re on both sides of the battlefield, even when you win, you lose.
Guest post by Brianna Weist