The Hobart

Stop Comparing. Start Celebrating.

by Annia Baron
Stop Comparing. Start Celebrating.

How to genuinely celebrate other people’s wins.

You and your loved one have been trying to get pregnant for years. You’ve done everything you can and have no luck. Your friend, who’s only been with their new partner a short time, posts a photo of their baby bump and merry face.

Or you may have been working hard for a long time. You’ve persevered earnestly to better your life but you’re still struggling financially and can’t seem to catch a break. Your mate, who has never had to worry about money a day in their life, calls and tells you they’ve landed their dream job.

When we’re going through a bit of a slump, one of the hardest things for us to do is to be genuinely happy for someone else, especially when their situation resembles something we’re seeking. Naturally, we begin comparing ourselves and wonder why it’s so easy for them and not for us. And although logically we know not to judge a book by it’s cover, emotionally, it’s difficult to override the jealousy or resentment that creeps in.

But if you really think about it, you have absolutely no idea of what that person has endured or is still going through. You haven’t witnessed the times they’ve sobbed in the shower when they’ve felt like failure. You haven’t listened to the “You’re not good enough” stories that weave through their inner dialogue. You haven’t been awake with them at 2am when they’ve had inconsolable panic attacks. You haven’t known what they’ve experienced having to care for their dying mum or the guilt of having to put down their beloved dog. You haven’t mourned their prior miscarriage with them. You haven’t journeyed with them through loss, debilitating pain, ongoing mental health battles or the traumas that have led them to be here. You don’t live with them through the moments their heart is heavy, their body so depleted, and all they crave is to shut off from the world and be swallowed up whole.

All we see is their ‘achievement’ and use this snapshot to formulate a conclusion about where we find ourselves in the present moment. Engulfed by a perceived sense of inadequacy, we’re unable to step into joy with them. We succumb to that immature defence mechanism and choose to opt out of their happy experience. We forgo the congratulatory text or the 30 seconds it takes to write on their Facebook wall, send them an email or give them a call to say, “That’s awesome news. Well done.” And sadly, the only one that ends up missing out is us. Because science confirms that when we allow ourselves to be genuinely happy for someone else, neurochemically we too increase our own level of happiness.

So, how do we get our hands on more of that?

Simple: Stop comparing. Start celebrating.

If you’re trying to lose weight and you see someone who looks fit and healthy, celebrate their effort. Wish them well and in your mind say, “They deserve to be happy. As do I.” When your friend tells you they’ve just purchased a new home, wish them well and in your mind say “They deserve to be content. As do I.” When you see others happy with their loving partner, pictures of their newborn baby, on a stage sharing their music, receiving their doctorate, starting their own business, getting engaged, celebrating a promotion, winning an award, doing good deeds, enjoying a holiday or any other achievement, wish them well and in your mind say, “They deserve joy. As do I.”

Practice this often. It may feel strange at first, nit you’ll soon realise the immense liberation that comes from letting go of the jealousy or resentment we carry and like a heavy backpack, ridding yourself of these unnecessary constructs will leave you feeling lighter and more open to opportunities that expand your sense of gratitude, and create a deep sense of fulfillment.

Because competing for joy is nonsensical. There’s enough of it to go around. And it’s never been about who has it easier or whose story is of greater hardship. We all have struggles. But no matter what we’re going through and what our lives ‘look like’, we all deserve happiness and sharing that with one another is a gift.

So, rise above comparison.

Step into celebration.

If you’re curious about letting go of old, unhelpful patterns that are stopping you from living your best life, visit or contact Annia, Clinical Psychologist & Mindset Coach on 0402 448 278

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August 2022

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