January 8, 2014 at 3:43 pm #48731
I have always had issues comparing myself to others, in a variety of ways. It is exhausting! I am generally a very happy, bubbly person, but there are certain things that hold me back and keep me from feeling my best. I am looking for ways to help in avoiding the following problems I have:
1) In friendships, I tend to compare who has the stronger relationship. For example, my girlfriend and I share a friend – let’s call her Sarah. I always worry about which of us is closer to Sarah (it’s so juvenile, I know! but I’ve had issues in the past of feeling left out, the third wheel, losing friendships, etc.). I think, “You and Sarah are closer than she and I are,” and I get really down about it.
2) At times, when my friends or girlfriend are experiencing successes, I think more about myself instead of them. I feel envy, wishing I could have the same successes, versus feeling genuinely excited and proud of my friends. My mind goes to a negative place, and I hate it.
3) In my relationship, I worry about the past. My girlfriend has been with her share of people intimately, and while she has moved on and we have been monogamous for over a year, I still go back to thinking about her past. It’s none of my business; I only know about it because we were friends before we were lovers. Again, all of this feels really silly to worry about, but for whatever reason, it’s still happening.
If you have any advice for me, I would love and appreciate it. Thank you for your time! Means a lot to me.January 8, 2014 at 5:33 pm #48734MarkParticipant
You have already noted that comparing yourself brings on unhappiness. If I was in your position, I would focus on keeping a gratitude journal. What is good in your life every day?
Keep your bubbly nurtured. Be around people that uplift you. Focus on your own joy and co-create that joy with others. Be in service to those who are less fortunate. Share your bubbly and happy demeanor.
Let me know if this makes sense and do-able for you.
MarkJanuary 8, 2014 at 7:37 pm #48738DivyamParticipant
Whenever you feel like that, just say this to your self – Iam bigger then this, iam better then this 🙂
DivJanuary 9, 2014 at 3:39 pm #48823
Mark, I think a gratitude journal is a great idea. I’ve thought of doing something like that: writing something I am thankful for every day, even just one sentence per day. Makes sense for me, and certainly worth trying.
Div: Thanks, I will work on concentrating my thoughts that way!!
If anyone has other ideas, I’m happy to learn them. 🙂January 10, 2014 at 7:40 am #48859MattParticipant
I’m sorry for the insecurities you experience, and know how difficult it can be to remain rooted in compassion. Sometimes when we get scared, our spacioisness of heart (in which compassion blooms) collapses, and we are left with jealousy, envy and agitation. A few things came to heart as I read your words.
Compassion is sometimes a sense we have to intentionally grow. Consider for a moment that compassion is the willingness to let a person’s energy blossom without our own attachment. Said differently and specifically, Sarah wants to be happy, find balance, and be at ease… and her having close friendships is great for her. So, as we build compassion for Sarah, we spend time wishing her deep friendships with others. You, your girlfriend, her sister… whomever and however, just for the sake of Sarah’s well being and growth. We can sidestep our own harvesting from the relationship, our own nourishment and value judgments and simply wish Sarah well. Yes, jealousy will return. Fear will return. However, just breathe with it, and surrender back into the spacious view, the one of Sarah’s joy in finding connection wherever she can. As you intentionally grow compassion in this way, the “left behind” sense erodes with time. Said differently, the blossoming of compassion and envy are from the same root… one happens with space, and one happens when the space has collapsed because of fear… but both arrive from your deep respect for connection.
The same is true with your girlfriend. Consider that her many partners has perhaps given her a skillfulness that you benefit from. Or, consider that from all of her dancing and sampling, seeking and connecting, she chose you. Now, when you feel secure in the relationship, perhaps this feels like honor, gratitude, and excitement. When insecure, it feels like a threat, as though you can’t compete with those other people… it can’t possibly be satisfying to her to be with little old you. To grow compassion for her more deeply, consider setting aside the way it impacts you, and look solely on her side. What was that like for her? Was it just beauty after beauty, or was it something else? From my experience, intimacy and sexual fulfillment grow stronger over time, so if she was bouncing through multiple partners, was she really finding fulfillment, joy, connection? Does she have any “slut” insecurities because of the number? Does she feel strong in her ability to feel safe and sexy with you? Are there things she found she enjoys/dislikes that would help her find greater joy with you?
In this way, by asking questions and looking on her side, it becomes a simple thing to build a bridge, to walk out on that bridge, and take her in your arms with more totality. If both of you are invested in growing together, compassion builds an intimacy that naturally erodes the insecurities… because both sides get space. Said differently, as you come to know her more openly, without fear tinted glasses, the light from the connection naturally removes the shadowy doubt.
Finally, there is almost always fear when we become vulnerable. It doesn’t mean something is wrong with you or the relationships (gf or Sarah), it just means you’re a little fearful. That’s actually fine, normal, and expected, and just means they matter to you. That’s good, because your heart is yearning for connection and love, which will help lead you home, no matter where you go. Said differently, you only feel afraid because of how much your heart loves others, and that is a strength and place that is a blessing for you and those around you. If the fears keep arising with potency, even after practicing compassion, perhaps consider beginning a metta meditation practice. Metta was taught by the Buddha to help quiet the mind, and strengthen our peacefulness and feeling of spacious friendship with others. Sharon Salzburg has a great guided meditation on youtube, if it is something that interests you.
Ally, don’t forget to be gentle with yourself. Sometimes we can be impatient, as though it all should resolve now, if only we could pull the thorn from our foot. Sometimes it works that way, but usually its more like a vision of where the floor needs scrubbing, and it takes time and effort to see it through. So, don’t be discouraged if you experience relapse or cyclical emotional responses. That’s normal, but with time and effort, the power it has over you diminishes significantly. Then, even if the envy or fear arises, it is like “oh, that old hat again, let’s go ahead and take that off right now” and it fades within a few breaths.
Namaste, dear sister, may your days and nights be spacious and glowing.
MattJanuary 14, 2014 at 2:55 pm #49117
Matt, I love your response. I haven’t been able to sit down and fully read and internalize until today. Thank you so much. I will absolutely look into metta meditation practice. Thank you again!