Thought Catalog
September 9, 2014

5 Things To Remember When It Seems Like Everyone Else Is More Successful Than You Are

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What is the issue?

Most of us have been there at one point or another… unless you’ve never encountered a more successful or talented person than your fantastic self. Or you have a suspiciously healthy outlook on life. Either way, after the post-grad years are over, it can be tough to find common ground with those friends who now possess envious jobs and the kind of lifestyle you feel you may never achieve. (You know, those engaged, married, prosperous, healthy, happy friends.) But guess what… it’s okay! We’re human. We’re competitive. We can’t help wanting something seemingly better than what we have. But that being said, accepting this fact isn’t your only option. There’s a few things we can keep in mind to alleviate some of these natural insecurities (and to avoid any episodes of drunk/ugly crying) when hanging with your possibly deserving, but still enviably, successful BFFs.

1. Your job actually doesn’t define you (unless you want it to).

Yes, most of us typically spend 8+ hours a day, five days a week working to support ourselves or even a family. And yes, it would be nice if we enjoyed most (or even half) of that time. However, this just isn’t likely for everyone. Life is not a Pinterest inspirational quote board. Not everyone can love their job. To some, a job is a job is a job. As long as you’re not making the world a worse place, and your job allows you to live a comfortable and even fulfilling life outside of work, I would say you’re pretty lucky. But that being said, maybe….

2. It’s not your time yet.

If you have bigger goals, keep searching for your “passion.” You’ll get there eventually, just probably not in the same time as everyone else. In the meantime, though, maybe the job you’re not crazy about is simply affording you necessary things like health insurance and a place to live. As long as you keep working and saving towards your bigger goal, sometimes there’s just no way to usher things further along.

3. Be grateful for what you do have. (Duh.)

There’s no need to feel all “hashtag blessed” everyday, but this age-old adage is “age-old” for a reason — it’s just simply true. You probably have more to be grateful for than you realize. And thinking about it can actually make you feel better about your situation. If we continually focus on what we’re lacking we will always be unsatisfied… because no one can have everything.

4. It’s not always about you, dummy.

Kidding, but really. A happy occasion for someone else shouldn’t automatically make you think about what you’re lacking. That’s silly, and kind of self-centered. We should at least consider trying to be happy for those who thought to share their happiness with us. Sure, sometimes people can go overboard, and sometimes you have an awful day at work only to hear about someone else’s fantastic new job, but at the same time… wouldn’t you want to share good news with your friends too? I would guess that more often than not, your friends simply want others to share in their good feeling.

5. Feel relieved — you’re off the hook!

Leading an outwardly successful and charmed life is often hard work. Maybe it looks like your friends simply “fell” into these wonderful opportunities, but nine times out of nine (that’s right, every time), these people probably work pretty hard behind the scenes. Maybe they’re type A personalities and get a rush from checking off tasks on their To-Do lists. Or maybe they’re steadfast individuals who’ve stayed the course in their career and relationships. That’s great for them and often traits to be admired. However, as we all know, people make mistakes. Or change plans. Or pursue different goals. Not everyone can handle, or even desires, the stress of a high-paying job at a large corporation. Or years of extra schooling. So take a breather and relax. Be grateful that you don’t sweat the small stuff, or need to, for that matter.

So even though you may desperately want to be happy for those friends whom you’ve shared really good times with and have worked hard for their successes, at the end of the day, we’re all human. We’re human, and it would be nigh impossible not to compare your life with someone else’s every once in awhile. But instead of plainly feeling bad about it and fully giving in to jealousy or resentment, maybe change your thought process. It works, and resorting to bitterness at the age of 20-something is just not fun. TC mark

featured image – Frances Ha