Competition doesn’t have to be a bad thing. You can compete against yourself and be better than you were yesterday. You can use competition as a motivational tool: set out to beat your last 5k time or improve a specific skill. Competition doesn’t have to be ugly. If you think the word competition brings out the worst in you, check yourself against the five signs you are competitive in an unhealthy way.
1. You get blue.
Do you hear about someone’s tiny dress size or new phenomenal job and get a little down in the dumps? That’s unhealthy. Celebrate you and where you are today. You can make a plan to change if that’s your goal — but change works best when it comes from a positive place.
Instead: Stop the side by side little comparisons. Don’t use other people as a yardstick to measure yourself against. Don’t compare your chapter two to someone else’s chapter ten. Set your own goals and love yourself for your whole journey.
2. You feel resentful.
Do you feel green when your friends or family succeed? Life doesn’t come with a reward ceremony at the end of it for the people with the highest salary or biggest house. Dream your own dreams.
Instead: Say goodbye to envy and resentment and hello to happy for your friends or family. Join others in their joy and be genuinely happy when they succeed. It feels so good. And when you feel fabulous about you, it empowers you to do fabulous things yourself!
3. You give up.
If you see other people achieving things you want to achieve and it makes you feel defeated and give up, the unhealthy competition bug bit you. Inaction makes us feel more down in the dumps. Decide to learn from other people instead.
Instead: What positives can you learn from the achievements of others? What takeaways can you apply to your own life? Look for the positive and you will find the positive and feel it.
4. You idealize.
You peruse Facebook and think everyone on your newsfeed has a better life than you do. Positive status updates make you believe everyone is living a storybook life except for you. You start seeing life as “perfect” for everyone but you. STOP.
Realize we all go a little deeper than our status updates, and know that we aren’t all shiny, happy people all the time. Remember this quote: “It’s never as good as it seems, and it’s never better.” – George Bernard Shaw. Quit idealizing people. We all stumble and have bad days.
Instead: Don’t wish to be someone else. We all have a lot more in common than you might believe. Feel like you're part of a community of people in the same boat and set sail to be the best one and only you.
5. You secretly want people to fail.
Now, I know this doesn’t make you feel good about you. Wanting others to stumble so we can lift ourselves up is a toxic way to process competition. It will only make you feel worse. React positively and soon you will feel the difference it makes.
Instead: Practice wanting others to win. Healthy competition encourages you to expand the boundaries of what you thought was possible for yourself.
Don’t bring yourself down with unhealthy competition. Use competition as healthy fuel instead. You will feel lighter and happier when you do!