Let’s be honest. We’ve all been there. We see a portrayal of success on social media and we question our own lives. We hear good news about an old acquaintance and we begin to feel bad about ourselves. We feel like it should’ve been us. You wish it were you instead.
How can you genuinely be happy watching someone else get what you’re still waiting on? The secret to being happy for others instead of jealous is to be encouraged that what God has for you is for you. You were created in His image and that alone makes you something special, setting you apart from anyone else on earth! Yes, we exist together on this planet interacting with each other daily, but the truth is that we are each on different paths. God has chartered a separate journey for every single one of His children.
What does that really mean? It means you can’t measure your success using someone else’s ruler. You’re not in competition with anyone but yourself. The goal is to be better than you were yesterday, not better than the next person. We often say, “Stay in your lane”, but the reality is not only are we in our own lanes – we’re each on our own roads. There is no race.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
-Romans 8:28 (NIV)
All of our roads are filled with different challenges to arise at any given time and likewise, a bunch of triumphs! That’s right-setbacks are designed for you to overcome them in your individual way. We all have our crosses to bare. While it may seem someone has the perfect situation or one easier than yours, things are never exactly what they seem. What people boast about on social media really has nothing to do with you. You don’t have to let what you see online negatively affect how you are going to spend your day – working towards your own goals.
What should you do when you see someone else achieve something similar to what you want? Use it motivate you to keep working at it, and maybe even harder! Take Theodore Roosevelt’s advice and “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” How do you stop the feeling of being less-than? It’s the little things. While getting better every day, it’s important to take pride in personal victories. What may seem like no big deal could be an essential part of your process and therefore a huge deal for you!
What’s interesting about success stories? I think it’s the relatable surprises, the things we would have never expected about our favorite celebrities’ lives before they became public figures. It amazes me how humble beginnings that force one into desperation often lead to the extreme hard work that results in mega success. The best part is, of all the biographies on my favorite musicians, actors and athletes-no two stories have ever been the same! Michael and Janet Jackson are siblings but had different experiences both growing up and navigating the music industry.
Another’s success doesn’t ensure your failure. Oh, how us fans would have missed out if little Janet had decided that her brothers’ success with the Jackson 5 meant that she herself would never have a music career! Instead of counting yourself out, how about trying to learn from those around you who have already accomplished what you are trying to? How about asking for some advice instead of secretly hoping they fail? How about taking some notes instead of hating?
“Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
-Psalm 37: 4 (NIV)
If anything, let seeing those around you do well inspire you to do better. What God has done for others, he will do for you! This doesn’t mean your success stories will look identical, but rather that you can be assured a blessing tailored just for you is on the way. Trust in the process and have faith in God’s plans for YOU.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
-Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
Stay reminded that God’s plan for every single one of his creations is unique. Live out God’s purpose for you instead of worrying about what another person is doing. The reality is that there is room for both Beyoncé and Rihanna. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs did different things so well that now we run Microsoft programs on Apple computers! Do your best at what you do. Do it like nobody else can.