What’s Wrong with Me?!? (The Problem of Comparing Yourself to Others)

She just got married. She’s set for life, and she’s only twenty.

That’s what one of our friends said recently.

She was talking about her cousin who had just gotten married a few weeks earlier.

Our friend would writhe in jealousy every time she talked about her “perfect” cousin and her enchanted life.

After all, our friend’s life was anything but perfect.

Our friend was inching closer to thirty, with one divorce under her belt, and a relationship that she currently believes is hanging on by a thread. She has some debt from school and credit cards. She’s been living with her parents for the past year. And she just lost her job (through no fault of her own).

She’s often used her cousin as a yardstick to measure her own life.

Every win her cousin had came with forced congratulations, veiling a wellspring of venomous resentment.

Every setback came with a comforting platitude and the giddy sense of relief that our friend felt she was okay with herself.

Maybe you’ve been there yourself.

I know I have…

The Chronology of a Pathology – Comparing Yourself to Others

I’ve felt it many times in my life.

Back when I was painfully single for a year and felt more lonely than I ever had in my life, I felt it.

Back when my ex dumped me just to jump right into bed with someone else, I felt it. After all, why was it so easy for her to get into another relationship, but I had to struggle so much?

Back when all my friends and I graduated from school and they got all the great jobs, while I struggled for months after them to find even the most basic form of employment, I felt it.

And even now, I can’t help but feel it sometimes when it comes to my own business. I started our little online business back in 2009. A lot of people started blogs and other businesses back then, and it seems like a lot of them are now making over 6-figures from their work. I can’t help but wonder where I went wrong sometimes.

I’m not the only one though.

I see this in a lot of the messages that people send in to Mika and I.

They feel alone. They feel like they’ve failed in life. They feel like every dream and every hope they ever had for their life is coming crumbling down around them.

And then the look to someone else and all they see is perfection. They see someone else doing something seemingly effortlessly that is such a challenge for them.

25 thoughts on “What’s Wrong with Me?!? (The Problem of Comparing Yourself to Others)

  • July 19, 2012 at 6:07 am
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    Wow, what a topic this time! This truly reflects on me. I like to compare myself with others in any field. The most obvious one, is of course, keep comparing my relationship with the others. They rarely have fights, arguments and etc. I was stressed out. I was jealous and envy. Till now, I’m still having this kind of problem.Sigh.

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    Clay Replied:

    @V, Thanks for your comment. What’s important to keep in mind is that even though those other relationships may seem perfect, you really don’t know what happens behind closed doors. They might fight, they might cry, they might sit in icy silence. I know (only too well!) how easy it is to compare what you have to what others have, but it’s important to remember that you’re not getting the whole picture.

    Thanks for your comment.

    I hope you’re doing well :)

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  • July 20, 2012 at 7:19 am
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    Thanks for your reply Clay. It is hard indeed, to stop comparing my relationship with the others. Sometimes I questioned myself, which part I have done wrongly, which part I should rectify and etc. Perhaps I should see the whole picture after all. Thanks Clay. :)

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    Clay Replied:

    @V, No worries. I hope you have a great weekend :)

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  • July 20, 2012 at 10:40 pm
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    Love this but doesn’t comparing yourself to others allow you to measure your success or be inspired to change?

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    Clay Replied:

    @Justine, Thanks for taking the time to comment and read the blog!

    Yes, I believe that looking at what others are doing can inspire you to change (that’s what happened to me when I was 25 and went to my “sort of famous” high school friend’s band performance)…

    But personally, I believe that it is much more productive to measure your progress against yourself. Are you a better person today than you were in the past? To me, that feels like a better question to be asking than “Am I better than so-and-so?”

    What do you think?

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  • July 21, 2012 at 9:05 am
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    Thanks Clay.I hope I’ll get the answers. Does it true that a woman shouldn’t make herself too available?

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    Mika Replied:

    Clay, hope you don’t mind me butting in on this one:) @ V,what a great question! When you mean “too available”, are you referring to dropping everything you’re doing to hang out with him? If that’s the case, being “too available” in my book means being desperately attached to seeing him. When you’re clinging to a certain outcome, that’s when it starts to become needy and desperate, thus making it unattractive. Bending backwards and doing something you wouldn’t normally do for someone (and feel uncomfortable doing it) is not acting with integrity. When you’re not acting with integrity or compromising your values, you’re putting yourself on the back burner just to be in good favor of someone else. Hope this helps:)

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  • July 22, 2012 at 1:27 am
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    So glad I found this. It’s really nice to see a *real life* couple doing this. I also love the advice you and Mika give out. It’s unconventional yet so simplistic. I admire how you guys walk the talk–it really shows.

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    Mika Replied:

    Cora, aww thanks! Clay and I have been at this for awhile and we wouldn’t be dishing out this kind of advice if we didn’t truly believe in it or apply it to our own relationship. Thanks for stopping by:)

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  • July 22, 2012 at 5:30 am
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    Thanks Mika. I just feel myself appeared too available for him. Should I back off a lil bit?

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  • July 22, 2012 at 1:21 pm
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    @V, I would only back off if there are other things you want to do or other commitments you have made.

    For example, if you agreed to meet a friend for lunch, but he calls you last minute and asks you to get lunch with him, tell him that you already made other plans and then meet up with your friend.

    Don’t drop everything you’re doing just to see him. I will make your friends/family start to think you are flakey and unreliable, plus he might start to think that you don’t really have anything going on in your life. And if you do this too much, you’ll just end up isolating yourself more and more until he is the only thing you have going in your life (not a good place to be, and not the foundation of a successful relationship).

    Remember, when you live a rich and rewarding life on your own, you’ll be much more attractive to him.

    Hope this helps :)

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  • July 23, 2012 at 6:07 am
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    Thanks Clay. It does help. I think I have a problem within myself. When he don’t tell me his whereabouts, I will feel not so good. I don’t know why.

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    Clay Replied:

    @V, Sounds like you might be feeling insecure about yourself and your relationship. Do you have any particular reason not to trust him?

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  • July 24, 2012 at 5:20 am
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    Clay, I don’t know how to say. Sometimes he will send me a text message, asking me why I’m so silent for the whole day. And sometimes when I ask where he’s been, I feel like he’s uncomfortable with that. So I confused. :(

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    Clay Replied:

    @V, When you say you feel like he’s uncomfortable when you ask where he’s been, is there any particular reason you have for feeling that way (did he say something about it?) or is it something you feel without any evidence from him?

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  • July 24, 2012 at 5:13 pm
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    This is something everyone is guilty of, and it is a hard habit to break! If you are unhappy with your life, do something positive to make a change. Sometimes that means getting outside of your comfort zone and doing something different.

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    Clay Replied:

    @Two of Us…, Thanks for the comment. Yes, getting outside your comfort zone is a must for really pushing your limits and taking your life to the next level, whether that be dating-wise or something else.

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  • July 25, 2012 at 5:49 am
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    Hi Clay. Well, he used to tell where he’s going, what’s he doing. After that, he didn’t really do like that anymore. Maybe I start controlling him?

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    Clay Replied:

    @V, Without knowing more, my guess is that he probably just got comfortable… There’s nothing you did. If there’s nothing he’s doing to specifically make you not trust him, try to let that suspicion go. You’ll have a lot more mental space and you’ll feel a lot more free. Remember, whatever happens, you’ll be okay.

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  • July 26, 2012 at 7:32 am
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    Hi Clay, what do you mean by being comfortable?

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    Clay Replied:

    @V, I mean he’s probably gotten a little complacent.

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  • May 7, 2013 at 6:44 am
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    Hi Clay and Mika! :) I’m very glad to have found your blog site. I am currently going through the same phase mentioned in your topic “What’s Wrong with Me?!? (The Problem of Comparing Yourself to Others)”. Right now I don’t have a permanent job, my fiance of 11 years left me for another woman, i got loans and cards to pay and i felt like I’m stocked and failed. I really wanted to pull myself out of this but I just don’t know where or how to begin with. I tried to release all the pain, frustration and hurt I’m feeling so I can be free but i felt like I haven’t done it completely. I hope you can share your piece of thoughts to me. It will be more than welcome. Thanks in advance. ^_^

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  • May 20, 2013 at 10:16 am
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    You know couple days ago i was really upset. Readin this blog site has really challenged me to face my fears and has hung every nail like a sharp piercing sting onto my brain of mental post it notes. You guys are amazing. I’m so glad i stumbled upon this place. I have on and off feelings but this blog provides wonderful insight. This top hits home, i tend to do this and use it as a tool to procrastinate. No more! From today i’m gna make my to do list, start a journal entry and scratch the topics and i accomplish them. You guys are a wonderful couple, thanks a million!

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