It’s not a contest.

I find that I constantly compare myself to others.

I feel inferior for not earning more, not saving more, for not buying my own house.  I feel inferior if someone has a higher net worth.  I feel inferior if someone has gotten more help from their parents, and if they’ve received less help from their parents.  I find myself constantly comparing net worth figures, savings amounts, incomes, expenses, wardrobes. 

I have to remember: it’s not a contest.

I don’t have to have the highest net worth, and I don’t have to save the greatest percentage of my income.  I don’t have to own my own house if I’m not ready.  I can spend more money on clothes than the crazy people on MSN who spend $40/year.  I can have an expensive wedding, even if other people think it’s crazy to spend that much on a big day. I can travel, I can go out to bars, and I can spend my money.

I’m not competing with all of you.  The only person I am competing with is myself.  I should be trying to shave down our utilities, trying to spend less on clothes, and paying down debt.  But I shouldn’t be doing this to beat Sally Blogger; I should be doing it to beat my budget – to beat myself.

I can’t be the only one who feels this way sometimes. The vague competitive edge, tinged with envy and feelings of inferiority.  I think most of us have a person we look up to, whose savings prowess we are in awe of.  So we all need to remember:  We do enough.  We are enough. 

It’s not a contest.

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10 Responses

  1. Very good point. I’m very glad you posted this because I was feeling down after commenting on Broke Grad Student’s latest post about how much I save. I’ve been very happy with how much I save, but then when others (including you) responded saying they save 30, 40, 50% I started to feel bad. I know it isn’t logical because I’m doing well, but I still feel inferior sometimes reading some PF blogs. Especially with regards to my 80% financed new car I got last August, which I am very happy with.

    I just need to remind myself that I AM doing well, and I’m saving less to have no roommates (which is very important to me) and to have the car. Also, the special lady friend will soon have a fancy ring, and when we live together we’ve already talked about living on less then my salary alone and saving all of her salary plus some. That’ll help with a fairly pricey wedding 2 years down the line (MSN message boarders be damned!)

    I got off topic there, but you’re right. It’s not a contest. I just need to remind myself that I’m doing well for me and that’s what matters. And if you want to feel better, I’m a renter who saves 17.5% and has a net worth in the neighborhood of -$10,000 (including value of my car). You win 😉

  2. You’re NOT the only one that feels this way! We can’t help it…most of us have spent 20 years learning to “compete” for everything (let’s face it, school is all about competition and comparisons…or at least that’s what it felt like). But life is not a contest and its not a race either.

    I always find myself saying this, but its so hard not to fall back into that kind of thinking. I’m working on it, and eventually I’m hoping I won’t give a damn about what everyone has vs. what I have.

  3. Amen! I have felt that way SO many times it’s ridiculous. You kind of have to put blinders up from what everyone else is doing and just sit back and look at the baby steps that you’ve taken to where you’ve gotten to today. Thanks for the reminder, so often feel that way too.

  4. Hi–thank you so much for entering my blogiversary giveaway and for your super sweet comment! It made my day! I’ll be announcing the winner of the giveaway tomorrow, and will need your email address to contact you if you win. Please respond via email to this comment, so I know it’s you. Thanks, and good luck!

    PS–great post! You are definitely not alone in feeling this way!!

  5. And if it was a contest, you must realize you are doing amazing. Even though it isn’t one. 🙂

    I agree with QL girl, it is from school years. Chances are you are used to getting top grades and constant feedback that you are awesome. 20 years of that is hard to give up!

    I don’t know, I don’t seem to have this problem lately, but it sneaks up every now and then.

  6. Thank you for this post. It is so easy to compare yourself to others. I feel like this feeling comes and goes and I have to keep reminding myself that I need to focus on my choices and my goals and try not to compare myself. Of course it is easier said then done.

  7. Excellent post. Your post reminded me of my ex, of how he despised people who spent more and how he envied people who earned more. He was quite successful and I told him that he should be thankful for what he has, since there are many other people who aren’t as blessed as he. He responded, “I’m not going to compare myself to people who are worse off than I am. That kind of thinking promotes mediocrite.” I thought to myself that his way of thinking only promotes misery. I knew, at that point, I needed leave. Comparing oneself to others could be a source of encouragement and inspiration, but you need to stop when it only makes you miserable.

  8. Remember that some of us are jealous of YOU! 😛 You’re doing great. If I had a nickel for every person who’s been hounding me day and night to buy a house…well, I’d have a much larger e-fund! The point is, you have to do what’s right for YOU, in PF and other areas of life. Sure, I’d like to be saving more, etc., but I’m doing what I can right now and focusing on the positive.

  9. You aren’t the only one who feels this way! Sometimes I kick myself for choosing a career in the arts ( a career that I’ve FOUGHT to make an ok living at ) . I get down on myself for just doing ok …..

    You aren’t the only one who gets jealous of other peoples situations. Remind yourself that you often don’t even know their FULL STORY.

  10. I am also SOOOOO embarassed to admit that sometimes I get jealous when a womans husband or boyfriend is doing well financially . I realize that everyones ” doing well financially ” looks a little different, but yeah …… I’m pretty embarassed to admit that!

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