Dear Lucy: I went to an event recently and ran into a person who used to work with me. She has now become an executive in a company in a great city; she showed me pictures of her new home, cars and was just bubbling with excitement about her success. She wasn't bragging, she was sharing because I was her mentor in the past. She talked about her next goal of finding a husband and starting a family. I was correctly cordial and conversational with her, but on my way home I realized that I was downright jealous of her success compared to mine. I have a job that I actually enjoy but something about her story just made me feel so bad. I am so sick over how I really feel about this. I don't want to feel like this.
– Jealous One
Dear Jealous One: Lighten up on yourself. You are just suffering from "comparison fever." It makes you all hot, sweaty, nervous, sometimes angry, sad, defeated and pitiful and emotionally distraught. I guess that's why Paul admonished us to be careful "not to compare ourselves among ourselves!"
People rarely get these feelings while comparing themselves to the guy with the sign saying "I will work for food" although we compare ourselves to him too. It's those successful people who seem to be doing better than us who get us down. Either way, comparing ourselves to others is a tricky little game. How do you get out of this space?
Step 1: Remember, you don't know all the facts. You don't know how she thinks, what she sacrificed, what she does to maintain her position that you wouldn't care to do. You don't know how hard she had to work to get this. You just don't have all the facts.
Step 2: Maybe seeing her was just a wakeup call to count your own blessings. Make a Gratitude list. If you were her and had a "gushingly happy" story to tell, what would it be? First of all, it would be YOUR story. Being grateful opens the door to more to be grateful for.
Step 3: Even if you would like to have what she has, can you own the sacrifices and detours you have made on your journey that have helped to make you the wonderful person you are today? The detours are always about learning something really important. What did your "sweet interruption" teach you? Are you grateful for it? Remember, you can only take your own journey, not another person's.
Step 4: The grass is not always greener.
Step 5: Maybe it's time to put your attention on reaffirming what you really want in your life. When you know what you want, you can give thanks for it every day and help draw it into your experience. That way, when others are speaking of their joy, you can be genuinely happy for them and stand firm in your own life purpose.
So, let it go. Be glad for your friend and happy for the reminder she brought you of how great your own life is and can be...according to your own plan.
(For help with the feelings that get in the way of prayer and peace of mind, get Lucy's new book, "BE NOT ANXIOUS." Order it directly from her at 901-907-0260 or go to her web site www.heartworks4u.com.)