Hello. I am a smart and educated woman and yet I have issues with self-esteem. I want to do so many great and extra-ordinary things in this lifetime yet I am stuck here, out of my comfort zone, doing nothing but obsessing over this person’s life, because it seems so much better than mine. I have an amazing boyfriend who has many friends, and one among them is this girl who is, well, everything I wanted to be. He kept mentioning how smart and hardworking she is, and the heights that she has reached in her career now is amazing, and that she is awesome, and a good friend, and on and on. This was the first time I felt a surge of jealousy and it has only increased since then. I keep obsessing over how great she is and how lowly I am. I struggled with the insecurity that my boyfriend liked her for about 2 years, but now that’s behind me. Now I feel like I can’t amount to anything in life, and she will keep becoming greater each day. Sometimes I feel like I wanna become like her. Most of thee times I hate her for being so good at everything. And most of the times I obsess over these thoughts even though I know they are harmful. My boyfriend never has anything to say when I express these feelings, which makes me feel even worse because I end up feeling like there was something between them and so he wont say anything bad about her just to make me feel better. I have never seen this side of me.I was happy before.Never ever obsessed with the idea of some person before. I can’t handle this vicious circle of obsession-comparison-depression anymore.I want to get out of this and DO good things for myself because I know I am capable and gifted. but again I feel like i’m not as gifted as she is.You see? I need help.
There is a saying in therapy “compare and despair.”
The shift is to recognize that there will always be people ahead of us and behind us but the real satisfaction comes when we can nurture ourselves. Taking stock in ourselves and making our needs a priority, rather than wasting our energy in comparing ourselves to others — is a skill that needs to be cultivated.
Jealousy is a form of inspiration gone awry. Think about the elements YOU admire in her. These are indications of what you want in your life. You are looking for clues as to what will nourish you as a person. This other woman has found the essence and source of what allows her to grow. It is time to find yours. Flowers aren’t jealous of each other’s beauty and magnificence. They turn toward the sun and flourish.
Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.
Tomasulo, D. (2018). Feeling Worthless Because Someone Else Is Better. Psych Central.
Retrieved on November 29, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/06/30/feeling-worthless-because-someone-else-is-better/
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 30 Jun 2014)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.