Don’t compare yourself to others. Only compare your current self to your past self.
That’s what I would say if I were a better person. But I’m not. I’m jealous and selfish and obsessive. I don’t want to be better than the old me. I want to be better than you.
I want to make more money than you. Look more beautiful than you. Live a more fulfilled life than you.
I don’t want to look at your pictures, posing in front of the Leaning Tower of Pisa or in your newest office building, and feel like I’m missing out on something. Like I’m not worldly enough. Wealthy enough. Successful enough.
I want to look at your photographs without feeling an ounce of jealousy. Without wishing that we could trade places. And I’m going to do that by personalizing my life to bring myself as much happiness as possible.
How am I going to do that? By not giving a shit what you think.
Look at it this way: My boyfriend is better than yours. He bought me a first edition, signed copy of my favorite novel. He had a star named after us. He reads all of my articles and plays my favorite songs on guitar and makes me feel like I actually matter.
But if you’re in a relationship, you shouldn’t be jealous of a word I just wrote. You should think I’m delusional. That my boyfriend is nothing compared to your boyfriend. That your boyfriend is the best man to ever grace this planet. If that’s not what you’re thinking, then why are you with him?
Don’t settle in love. Don’t settle in your career. Don’t settle in life.
You have to remember that my version of happiness is different than your version of happiness. That’s why you need to personalize your life. Don’t get married and have children, or go after that high paying office job, because society says that’s what you should want. Do what you, the complicated creature staring into your mirror, actually wants to do.
Look at it this way: You’re not going to be jealous of someone for getting a promotion at their law firm if you’re at the entry level of your dream job — because even the shittiest version of your dream job is better than the leading position at a job you aren’t passionate about.
So don’t think of your life in terms of society’s success. You’re successful when you’re doing what you want to do. Not when you’re making six figures. Not when you have enough cash to take a social media-worthy vacation every six months. It’s when you wake up at six AM, after only getting six hours of sleep, and are happy about it. When you’re actually excited to start your day, because you’re doing what makes your pulse quicken and your heart pound.
Aim to be happier than me. Because I’m aiming to be happier than you.
Maybe it’s an unhealthy way to look at life, but everything about me is unhealthy. I’m flawed. Fucked up. Human. And the idea of being better than you energizes me. It gives me the shove toward motivation that I need. It’s going to help me accomplish everything I daydream about in the shower, during extended car rides, when I’m edging toward sleep at night.
It’s going to help me reach success. But not your version of success. My version of success.
One day, I’m going to be better than you. And I hope — from your point of view — you’re a million times better than me.