Do you play the “Comparing Game?” If you get jealous easily, chances are high that you play this game-- that isn't fun and won't bring laughs into your life.
In fact, both the “Comparing Game” and jealousy will undoubtedly cause you pain and wreak havoc on your love relationship or marriage.
Here's how it usually goes...
Liz and her boyfriend, Rick, are out together with a group of friends. They both love to dance, stay out late and socialize with friends. They also love each other and have a commitment to their relationship with one another.
Troubles often arise when Liz starts to play the “Comparing Game,” which often happens during their nights out together. While she's dancing and even when she's in the middle of a conversation with Rick or a friend, Liz begins to mentally compare herself with all of the other women she can see at the bar, the party or the club.
Because Liz believes that she's too fat, that her nose is too big and that her hair is embarrassingly frizzy, you can guess how she usually rates herself in comparison to the other women...quite low.
Jealousy almost always comes next for Liz. After she ticks off all of the ways that she thinks these other women are more attractive, better dancers and more socially refined than she is, Liz starts to panic. She then wonders why Rick is with her and not one of these other vastly superior (in Liz's mind) women.
It only gets worse after this point because, next, Liz usually becomes defensive and wary. If Rick even glances at another woman-- or talks with her in passing-- from this state of mind, Liz snaps and an argument ensues.
The way that you play the “Comparing Game” may be quite different. Your jealousy may show itself in a different way than it does with Liz.
Regardless of how it happens, the results are almost always the same. Both the “Comparing Game” and jealousy will drive a wedge between you and your partner.
Here's what you can do instead...
Be aware when you're comparing yourself to others.
Get into the habit of catching yourself when you start to compare yourself to others. Even if you have found someone to compare yourself with whom you perceive yourself to better than, resist the urge to play the “Comparison Game.”
You will always, eventually, lose.
Let's face it. There will ALWAYS be people who seem to be more attractive, more successful, more talented, etc. than you are. At the same time, there will ALWAYS be people who seem to be less attractive, less successful, less talented, etc. than you are.
There are so many possible ways to judge and measure a person's value, including your own. You can put yourself on an emotional (and self esteem) roller coaster if you rely on comparison to feel good about yourself and to feel worthy of your partner and relationship.
When you look in one direction, you lose the “Comparison Game” and when you look in another direction, you win.
It could go on and on and you will probably still end up feeling insecure or unworthy (if this is how you truly feel about yourself) when it's all said and done.
If there are specific situations during which you are more apt to compare yourself to others, recognize this. Stay especially tuned in to your thoughts during these triggering times and interrupt yourself when you begin to compare.
When you start to play the “Comparison Game,” ask yourself this question...
“Will comparing truly help me be happier?”
While you may be tempted to answer, “Yes,” if you are facing a perceived “win” in the game, but the long-term response to this question has got to be “No.”
Playing the “Comparison Game” will not help you to truly be a happier person, because the happiness is so changeable-- at any moment you might find yourself facing someone who seems to be better, prettier, thinner, more fit, etc.
And, when you really look honestly at this destructive game, it's all a matter of opinion and perception anyway.
Use questions like: “Will comparing truly help me be happier?” or “Will comparing help me to create the kind of relationship with my partner that I truly desire?” to interrupt yourself before you get too involved in comparing yourself to others.
What you'll most likely find is that the sooner you interrupt the “Comparison Game,” the less jealous you will feel. Yes, you might continue to worry that your partner will cheat or leave you, but this worry will probably be less intense and easier to handle.
From this point, you can begin to bring yourself back to the present moment and what is going on right now, instead of what you fear will happen or what you are imagining is happening.
Live more fully in each moment instead of letting comparing and jealousy steal away your attention and energy. Re-focus on the conversation you are having, the dancing you are doing, the food you are eating and the enjoyable aspects of your surroundings.
Susie and Otto Collins are relationship coaches and authors who help couples communicate, connect and create the passionate relationships they desire. They have written these e-books and programs: Magic Relationship Words, Relationship Trust Turnaround, No More Jealousy and Stop Talking on Eggshells among many others.