Competition. It is innate, a part of life. Just think about it… survival of the fittest. In terms of biology, you are succeeding at life if you are 1. surviving and 2. reproducing (or able to reproduce/pass on your genes). At one point, human beings may have been competing for food, shelter and a mate. It still happens in nature, right?
What about in a civilized world? Competition is everywhere: politics, sports, business, economics, the work place and even everyday life. But I often wonder, WHY in everyday life? Why? What’s the point? I am a competitive person, but inwardly if that makes sense. I more so compete with myself and try to make myself the best I can be each and every day. My father and older sister on the other hand, are very outwardly competitive (the type of people you don’t want to play Monopoly with if you just want to have fun). I get that competition is always going to be a part of life, but I will never understand why people you are close to try to compete with you.
My blogging friend Rachel touched on this subject a couple times (see here and here) on her blog and I was very intrigued and agreed with her when she talked about copying and why women act like monsters sometimes. I struggled for a long time throughout high school and college with one friend in particular who constantly tried to compete with me and make fun of my successes. I have always have been confident in myself so I just brushed off her comments and figured it was just part of her personality, even though her ways of competing with me always did bother me. She would befriend anyone I made friends with, go buy a ton of brand new clothes anytime I got one new clothing item and was always upset when guys would talk to me and not her and would tell them to leave me alone. And what did I do? I encouraged her, built her up and told her to be confident. I tried to be a good friend. If she was in any way jealous of me, it was because I was confident and happy, but it was something she could have had in her life too. Regardless, her constant competition with me ended our relationship a couple years back. Sad since we had been such good friends for so many years, and too be honest I still won’t know why we aren’t talking today. I continued to be me and believe I am better off than to be friends with someone who was constantly trying to bring me down.
So here’s the point I’m trying to get to: why do we compete with ones we love? I can easily see how it happens. Take, for example, social media. It is a great tool to stay connected with people, but as time has gone on, it really is a tool to share your positives, successes and anything you could possibly brag about to the world. That’s great and all, but this is probably why so many people compare themselves to others, which is just not a healthy habit. I think that those who compare themselves to others on various levels, whether how much money they are making, their relationships, how skinny or pretty they are, how many friends they have, how much attention they get, just end up feeling really bad about themselves or feel this need to compete, or both.
We are all different. We all come from different backgrounds and we want different things in life, so I don’t understand why we try to compete with one another to “show off what we have” or show that we can be better. I think our time would be much better spent focusing on what we are good at, what our talents are and not wishing for this or that or wondering, why can’t I be like that? Basically, stop trying to be someone else and just be yourself. In the end, you will be much happier for it, at least this is what I’ve learned from my experiences. I still deal with this sort of thing in my life and it can be seriously irritating. Recently I saw this quote “Girls compete with each other. Women empower one another,” which is part of the reason I’m writing this post. And it is so true, isn’t it?
I guess I believe that competing with friends or people close to you falls back to being jealous or feeling not as accomplished as them. I just think people set themselves up for failure when there is nothing to be won. In an actual competition, it makes sense to compete, in life I think more often than not it just makes people feel empty. Anyway, just something to think about. I was also just curious if other deal with this in their everyday lives?
GinnyApril 3, 2013 at 1:03 PM
Such a good point, competition is foolish. Each day we should just strive to be the best us and no one else. Thanks for sharing!
RachelApril 4, 2013 at 9:09 AM
Ginny, thank you for your comment! While I think there are definitely healthy forms of competition, I mean it is a part of being a human being, sometimes it is just ridiculous and people go overboard with it, which in turn makes them feel bad and brings down other people. This type of competition in my mind, is not good! Thank you again for your comment.
Bethie the BooApril 3, 2013 at 1:13 PM
My husband said it best one day when I was upset with a friend who was making me feel bad because she was jealous of a success I had, he said “why do you girls tear each other down so much? I don’t get it.” And I thought about it and I couldn’t answer him. Why do we do it? We should be empowering each other and celebrate each others successes. I may have envy of someone inside, but I try not to let that show to them and instead embrace their happiness. But it is VERY hard to do sometimes and it’s so easy to get sucked down the rabbit hole so to speak.
Anyway – this is a great quote, I might have to pin it.
RachelApril 3, 2013 at 1:20 PM
It is hard to answer, and I know it is easy to get sucked in. I have been there before. But I try hard to build other people up and this quote just really hit me!
RachelApril 3, 2013 at 2:39 PM
Rachel, seeing as you quoted my two previous blog posts, I can 100% relate with what you wrote and how you feel! I’ve dealt with this throughout my life, whether it’s high school, college, in the work place or even in blogging. Some women are prone to jealousy and constantly compare themselves to others- it’s their insecurity. Take it as a compliment that people care so much about you to either a. copy everything you do to be more like you, or b. try to tear you down in your successes. Keep your head up 🙂
RachelApril 4, 2013 at 9:11 AM
Thanks Rachel! It was definitely therapeutic to write this. I mean it is something I can ignore, but sometimes it just goes too far. Competition between women always seems to be unhealthy, rather than motivating. I’m not even asking for the support, just let me be me, you know?
RachelleApril 3, 2013 at 4:44 PM
Confidence is everything, when people don’t have it they turn into mean and nasty beings. I’m all for building someone up and helping them, but I’m very cautious nowadays.It’s sad really but this is how it is. And this person was never a friend.
RachelApril 4, 2013 at 9:11 AM
It is sad how cautious you have to be sometimes. I used to be too trusting I guess because now it takes a long time for me to completely open up to someone!
Diana MarksApril 3, 2013 at 7:34 PM
I think the only person you can compare yourself to is yourself in the past. But I guess it’s easier said than done (
LA By Diana Live Magazine
MacaApril 3, 2013 at 8:49 PM
I am competitive in the same way you are. If I know I did my best, I would be ok with not getting first place (it suck but I’d be ok). My husband is extremely competitive and it took time for me to get used to that because I didn’t understand why he was so intense about “winning” against me but to be fair, it has brought a side of me that I like. He is a great sport and does what’s right so even if I “beat” him at something he plays fair so we are able to have healthy competition and bring out the best in one another and push each other to give more than what we thought we could. So even though I still don’t fully understand the mentality of some people who get insanely intense about the race and the prize, I think there is something to be said about competition and if you still play fair then it can make you strive even more and push harder for your goals.
MacaApril 3, 2013 at 8:56 PM
*I posted before finishing/really long comment. When it comes to girls being competitive because of jealousy I think it’s a little sad(?) Not sure that’s the word I want to use, I don’t want to be mean. I just think it speaks more of that person’s insecurities than anything else. Being that I was never competitive with others I never really fed into it. It’s sad to lose a friend because of that but I believe in surrounding myself with people who support me and bring me up and not down. You can only do so much for someone if they don’t do it for themselves.
RachelApril 4, 2013 at 9:16 AM
Maca, Thank you so much for your comment and input! And let me just say I completely know where you are coming from. My bf is actually very competitive by nature and I can totally relate. For example, sometimes we “compete” to see who works out more in one week. Since we are both trying to get back in shape, this is a very healthy competition that motivates both of us to be better people than we were the day before. This type of competition IS GREAT! 🙂 And it is nice to have someone push you outside your boundaries. I guess I should have been more clear when stating “competition with someone you love” … I mean the bad kind that is when someone purposely sets out to be better than someone else NOT to better themselves but to bring down the other person. If someone sees a good friend or family member being successful and decides to compete with them and it actually ends up motivating them just to work harder and be a better person, then that is AOK 🙂
two birdsApril 4, 2013 at 12:45 PM
what a great post! i think it’s easy to think about not being competitive, but not as easy to do. i try to look at how great my life is and how happy i am and not worry about what other people are doing with their lives. i think the media has kind of created a competitive atmosphere, though.
RachelApril 5, 2013 at 10:46 AM
I agree that the media has created a competitive atmosphere, I just hope that people don’t always fall for it. It sounds like you are on top of it! And that’s great that you can focus on yourself and what makes you happy in your life 🙂 I hope more people can do this!
HeatherApril 5, 2013 at 6:25 AM
Well I hope that toxic friend is out of your life… you have too many real friends – myself included! And if you ever need me to beat anyone up I will 🙂 I may look scrawny but I fiercely defend those I love 🙂
Pearls & Paws
RachelApril 5, 2013 at 10:50 AM
Haha, you make me laugh. Part of this is personal, but partially an observation as well. For example, my little sister’s age group are CRAZY with social media. Friends literally get upset or depressed when people do not “like” their photos, etc. I think more of this post stems from what I’ve observed on social media and how we can compete less with each other with every day things and start competing with ourselves to push harder each and every day. I appreciate the support though 😉
ashleighApril 6, 2013 at 10:43 AM
My best friend took a friendship class a couple of years ago. There are many types of friendship, many that are no good for you. The best kind of friend is someone that you can talk to about anything, and then pick up the conversation four months later. They encourage you to do good (let’s say…bake cookies for soldiers) not bad (spend all your rent money at the bar.) Women compete with each other because society tells us to. Who wore it better, Fashion police, etc make clothes a competition. It doesn’t stop there! Mommy’s compete to raise the best kids, single girls compete to get the best guy/career/lifestyle. It’s unending. We should build each other up, not tear each other down. Thank you for posting this Rachel!
BrynnApril 15, 2013 at 4:54 PM
I know I’m super late to the party on this post, but I wanted to weigh in a little bit. I’m also super competitive with myself, and I can be with others as well. However, my competitiveness is not because I want to “outdo” someone else…it just motivates me to be better. I have a friend who recently quit Facebook because she was tired of seeing people write all about how 100% perfect their lives were. Seeing so many people write solely about the amazing things in their lives made her feel bad about her good, but not perfect, life. She said in just a few weeks of not being on Facebook, her self-esteem has sky-rocketed. I think there’s something to that! I don’t want to quit Facebook, but I’ve definitely considered it and analyzed my reasons for being on Facebook.