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Why We Compete With Our Friends (And How to Stop)

Competition. It can drive us or it can destroy us. For many of us, it seems we spend most of our lives competing with others. Sometimes we compete with friends and family, sometimes we compete with complete strangers.

The problem with competition is that unless it helps us grow and serve, it can be very unhealthy. So, why do we do it? Why do we compete with our friends to be better or wealthier or handsomer or prettier? But more importantly, how do we stop competing?

Why We Do It

Humans are competitive by nature. It’s not unusual to become envious of a friend that comes into money, gets a great job, or begins a new, romantic relationship. We want what they have. All the while we may not tell them that we’re envious of their shiny new car or pretty new girlfriend. But we are envious. And sometimes we’ll stop and nothing to compete with what they have.

Researchers suggest we experience envy and engage in competition because it allows us to evaluate where we are in the “resource chain.” We determine who we are and where we stand by use of social comparison. When we see that our friends have something we want, it is a natural tendency to attempt to obtain or mimic that want.

How We Can Change It

When we begin to experience envy and jealousy, instead of engaging in competition and possibly hurting an otherwise healthy friendship, we have to make the decision to avoid competition altogether.

This can be accomplished by working on our self-esteem. People with higher self-esteem can accept that some people are better at some things, yet not so good at other things. This understanding allows them to be less susceptible at making social comparisons.

Instead of looking at everything your friends do right, understand that they have flaws, too. We all do.

There isn’t a single person walking this earth that isn’t flawed. Click To Tweet

Next, look closely at your own life. There are people, places, and things in your life that make you shine like the magnificent diamond you are. Focus on those things.

If you need to, make a list of what your friends have that you’re envious of. If the first thing is “a brand new car,” on your side of the list, write down why you’re grateful for the kind of transportation you have. Does it get you where you need to go? Has it taken you and your family to magnificent places? Focus on those things over chrome rims and fancy gadgets.

Finally, don’t minimize your gifts and blessings. Embrace them instead. In this, you’ll see your self-esteem and your appreciation for your gifts and talents grow. When this happens, competition with friends will become a thing of the past.

Joleene Moody is a PositivityGuides writer and Robbins-Madanes interventionist, specializing in offering information that helps readers shift their mindset quickly in order to improve their lives.

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