Scarcity, Jealousy, and Comparison

I’m competitive. I always have been. Now add in my perfectionist tendencies and an anxiety disorder and maybe you can imagine what it’s like in my head. I was recently introduced to the concept of having a scarcity vs. abundance mindset through one of Rachel Hollis’ podcasts.

So many times I’m scrolling through instagram and comparing myself to others. I get that tightness in my throat, I get that quickened heartbeat, the thoughts start spinning.

Scarcity sounds like:

  • “I have to do it first.”
  • “I can’t help them get ahead.”
  • “There’s only room for me on top.”
  • “I have to hustle harder and faster.”
  • “No one else can do it like I can.”
  • “They can’t see me break.”
  • “You’re not enough. She’s younger than you and she’s farther than you. You aren’t working hard enough. You aren’t doing enough.”
  • “I have the answers. Only I have the solution.”

Or I do something even more terrible and I start to tear them down in my mind. It’s jealousy. It’s scarcity. It’s comparison. It’s unhealthy. It’s toxic. I catch myself starting and I stop myself. I have several mantras that I have in my head when I feel myself slipping.

Abundance sounds like:

  • Tearing them down doesn’t make me taller.
  • The grass is green where you water it.
  • There’s room for all of us.
  • Put your blinders on. Stay in your lane.
  • That’s so good for them.
  • Change is good. Growth is good.
  • How can I help them? How can I be a mentor?
  • “Authenticity builds true connection.”
  • Their story isn’t my story.

Here’s a few things I find myself repeating:

  • Because someone is going back to school for their master’s degree, that doesn’t mean I’m falling behind.
  • Because someone is remodeling their home, that doesn’t make my home uglier.
  • Because someone got a job promotion, that doesn’t mean I’m falling behind.
  • Because my Facebook friend lost 25 lbs, doesn’t mean I’m getting fatter.
  • Because someone else has more grandkids doesn’t make mine any less special.

I know so many women reading this can relate. They may not even be aware that there is a name for these kinds of thoughts. I didn’t know the difference and I still struggle to differentiate my thoughts between abundance and scarcity. Here are a few action items I take to shift my thoughts to actions:

If I feel that pang of jealousy, I make a point to LIFT that person up. I comment, I like, I reach out because that is my true intention. My subconscious and instantaneous thoughts can be nasty and self centered but my true intention is to lift other women up.

For example, one of my friends recently is going back to school for her masters degree. I felt that pang of “not good enough,” and I started making her accomplishment about me as if her continuing her education took away my own college credits. I stopped myself. I picked up my phone and I texted her wishing her well on her first day back at school. I thought about it too. I have NO DESIRE to go back to school right now. Nothing about her continuing her education should make ME feel threatened. Her choosing to continue HER education is about HER. It has nothing to do with me. While my subconscious mind is programmed to spit out a “not good enough” thought process, I’m truly happy for her!

Another example: a friend of mine recently dropped 25 lbs. She’s been posting about her workouts, her health journey, and somehow, again, my subconscious scarcity mindset made it all about me and how I’m not doing enough. I’m fat. I’m ugly. ME ME ME. As if her weight loss resulted in my weight gain. I stopped myself, I went to her instagram, I commented on her photo complimenting her new figure. She looks GREAT! She looks HAPPY! I’m truly so happy for her because her weight loss is just that: HERS! It’s not about me.

So this blog post is not intended to criticize you. It is not to sound like I am holier than thou. I just challenge you to identify your own scarcity based thoughts. I think this has been the biggest factor when it comes to my mental health. I can tell when I’m getting sucked in the rabbit hole. Sometimes I take a break from social media altogether if I can’t shake those thoughts. Somedays are easier than others. I just know that I used to live inside of scarcity and I never want to go back.

In summary, I think Mel Robbins says it best:

Stop taking yourself out of the race because you think everyone else is ahead of you.

It’s easy to look at what everyone else is doing and achieving and think, “I’m not good enough, I’m not ready, I don’t have enough.” Bul that’s not how you run the race.

You have no idea where other people’s starting lines were or where their finish line will be.

Thanks for reading friends! Have a great day!

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4 thoughts on “Scarcity, Jealousy, and Comparison

  1. Elle says:

    So glad you’ve been able to identify habits that cause you more stress and anxiety. Every time I read your blog posts I think “she is living her own authentic life”. You’ve taken the time to figure out what you and your family need right now! You’ve adjusted your work. You’re improving an important room in your home. Grandma Jo takes the kids so you and Craig can have some couple time and enjoy mountain bike riding.

    It is my hope for you, that soon you see THIS picture of your life as THE life to live today and are able to let go of the compare/contrast. I was 33 when I got there. The year my Dad died. The year that made me decide what was important and what was not.

    If someday you go back to school? Great. If not? Great! Nursing is a terrific career at every educational level.

    You live an active lifestyle. If you lose weight? Great. If not? Oh well. You are active and that is more important than a few pounds.

    I hope you have a fantastic weekend and some great patients at work!

  2. Candy says:

    When I’m driving somewhere, I’ll often find myself checking the rear view mirror to see if someone’s gaining on me, then speed up to get ‘there’ first. I’ll tell myself “just drive your own car”! It takes some concentration to drive your own car. After reading your post today, it seems that “drive your own car” is a good analogy for what we need to be doing in our lives. Just my thoughts … so go and “drive YOUR own car”, and enjoy the ride!

  3. Ellie says:

    Sounds like you are making good progress on a thorny issue for many of us! This can be a lifelong struggle but the more you can conquer it the easier it becomes.

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