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There’s an old adage that says healthy competition elevates us to a level that we might not achieve on our own, and I’m guessing, if asked, most people would agree.

But when does the productive aspect of competing evolve into the deflating and self-defeating action of comparing?

In my mind it comes down to this: How do you feel inside when you’re looking around at others?

Do you feel at peace and balanced in your heart, but inspired and excited to strive, to learn, and be better? Or do you feel uneasy and anxious, like you’re falling behind and are desperate to catch up?

If your answer is the former, and you feel surefooted and comfortable in your own skin, then looking around at others for ways to improve will be a productive and fruitful process. Go after your goal wholeheartedly, aware your ambition is solely for self-satisfaction.

If your motivation is inclined towards the latter and you feel lack, resentment, envious, or not good enough, then your sense of healthy competition has drifted into comparing. A process that inevitably leads to dissatisfaction and, unfortunately, more comparing.

If you find yourself stuck in comparing, don’t worry, you’re not an awful person. In my experience all the looking around stems from just not knowing yourself well enough. Take the time you used to use to compare your job, your car, your body, your house, your education, your spouse’s career, your children, your athletic ability, your workout regime, to others and redirect your efforts on getting to know yourself better. The real you. Not what you think everyone expects from you. Think about what YOU, not society, your family, your friends, your partner, your neighbors, your co-workers, or even celebrities, want. Since once you get to know what’s in your individual heart and find your passions, you will lose the desire to compare yourself to others because you’ll be too busy pursuing wants that move you closer to your individual goals. Gliding your ambitions away from comparing and back towards healthy competition.

You will have peace and balance and the thrill and sense of accomplishment you ultimately crave. Your path is your own, only meant for you, you are unique, the one and only version of you ever made, making you incredible just because you breathe and walk the earth. If you choose to be better and grow, be sure to aspire through competition, avoiding the urge to compare.

E.L. Chappel author of Spirit Dance/Storm Makers/Coming soon: The Surge

Repeat after me: I am enough, I do enough, I’m on my own path, there’s no reason to  compare.

aka The Glamorous Wife