Do you ever look at people and think that their lives are so much better than yours? Do you ever wish that you had someone else’s body, their boyfriend/girlfriend, their apartment, their job, their money, their clothes? Do you ever look at someone then hate yourself?

If so, you’ve experienced the kind of jealousy and envy that causes despair.

Some people have the habit of comparing their lives to the lives of someone else and then feeling bad about themselves. Compare and Despair. Or, as one of my former supervisors referred to it, “compare and destroy.” The truth is, when you compare yourself to other people, you can often wind up obliterating yourself or destroying the other person in your head.  For instance,  “She’s very pretty– therefore I must be ugly, I hate myself…” or  “She’s very pretty… but she’s stupid and she dresses badly.”  Rather than having someone’s positive attributes have nothing to do with you at all. Just because someone is smart doesn’t mean you’re not smart enough. Just because someone is beautiful doesn’t mean you’re not. Just because someone is successful doesn’t mean that you can’t be.

Jealousy, broken down into its core components is anger at someone for having something that you don’t because on some very primal level, you believe that they are stealing something from you. If they have it, you can’t have it.

People often measure themselves against others as  a way of understanding where they fall, how they’re doing. We don’t get graded in life. So, perhaps if we can see who has the most money, the thinnest legs, the biggest house, the handsomest husband, we can understand where we stand.

This can be particularly true with body image. Many women spend a great deal of their day and their mind space comparing their bodies to the bodies of other women and then feeling badly about themselves.  This kind of comparison is so detrimental to your mental and emotional health. It pulls you away from you. You become so busy looking at what other people have that you begin to forget about yourself. This isn’t only true about comparing yourself to a body that you think is “better” than yours, it’s also when you compare yourself to a body that you think is “worse” than yours. There are no qualitative parameters on bodies. You have been given one and it’s up to you to care for it alone.  Each person has their own dharma and their own path. It’s up to you to travel along on your own path, to go forward and figure out all your obstacles and roadblocks. When you compare yourself to others, you begin to look to other people’s paths. In doing that, you stop moving forward on your own. You can’t jump on anyone else’s path. You have your own. Each person has their own life and their own problems. When you compare yourself and your life to other people’s, you’re not taking into consideration that you don’t actually know what’s going on in their lives. You’re comparing yourself to a fantasy that you are having about someone else’s life.

When you find yourself comparing yourself to someone else and becoming upset, stop yourself.

First, notice if you are trying to destroy them in your head. Stop doing that. It’s not productive and it doesn’t feel good in your body, nor does it help you get closer to your goal.

Then, what is it that you’re jealous of? Is this something that you can have? If so, how can you get this thing. If not, think about how  your life differs, and what makes you and your life unique and how you can continue on your own life.

Empower yourself by thinking about what in your life you can control and making moves to go there. Jealousy is totally unempowering. It makes you feel helpless and paralyzed. People try to empower themselves and make themselves feel better with idle gossip. Trying to elevate yourself by devaluing someone else is never a good idea. It keeps you small. Elevating  yourself by being a genuinely good person and working to reach your goals will help you to deal with your jealousy. You will remember that you have your own life and your own personal goals that you are working toward that have nothing to do with anyone else’s goals or path.

As you move through your life, and pay attention to your own life, give your life and your self attention. When you obsess and dwell on what others have, you avoid yourself, you reject yourself and your life. It’s not conducive to positive change or a happy life.

Pay attention and give love to you and you will reap those rewards and begin to enjoy what you do have.

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  • ashley

    It’s hard for me not to do this. I am constantly comparing myself to others. I often feel like if I can’t be them, then I don’t want to be anyTHING because I certainly don’t want to be me. I love fashion but I’m starting to see that I often go on fashion websites for fashion but all I do is compare myself and feel inadequate. And I have wondered why even if I negatively judge people, why I don’t feel good. When I say…oh their not this or their too much this, it still makes me feel as crap. It’s such a cycle.

  • B

    my comparison and envy is obsessive and so deep that today i’m almost 40 and cannot control it…
    i’m sure no one compare and envy as hard as i do.
    and the worst part is it made me disconnect with some of my close friends.
    lucky i do have a personal relationship and i even married but i feel doomed.
    yes i did a lot of therapy, tried many methods, but no avail.
    my envy is simple- i cannot be or talk or be happy for someone who “passes” me.
    i feel like i’m nothing. i feel empty and it burns me inside so deep.
    people who has – better relationship, better looking woman, or just being happy-
    make me feel deeply threaten and i just cannot handle it. i rather die.
    so my only solution is simply disconnecting with the envied person, just to not being consumed by the agony.
    oh, and i wish they would just disappear, or die.
    it’s probably very primal in my case. like a little baby.

    can anyone top that? 🙂

  • Leora Fulvio

    It’s interesting that you are asking whether people can “top you” and stating that “no one compares and envy as hard as I do.” You are even comparing your comparative thinking. Often comparisons come up when you feel totally inadequate on your own. It’s important to work to build your self esteem and meet your own goals and challenges. I hope that you will reconsider therapy and keep trying until you find someone who makes sense for you. It sounds like you’re having a very hard time. I do hope that you find the right match for yourself.