Have you ever felt jealous of someone else’s success? Has someone else ever gotten something that you really wish that you could have gotten or maybe you felt like you deserved?
These are all common things: jealousy, competition. They are all around us in the world, and especially in the world of performing. This week, I talk to you about some tips and techniques that can help with those feelings of jealousy and competition.
If you’d rather listen instead of reading, check out the podcast version below! There’s also a video version on YouTube found below:
Hey there! It’s Chelsea Melcher here.
If this is your first time meeting me, I am an opera singer that has stared a music school with my husband Paul.
My specialty is helping performers work through and manage their performance anxiety, nerves, self-limiting beliefs… And also helping other music teachers work these techniques with their students as well.
Understanding Jealousy and Comparison
Today, we are going to talk about jealousy and comparison. These things are natural feelings.
If you’re feeling jealous or comparing yourself, don’t beat yourself up. Because this is completely normal. It means that you’re a human and you’re experiencing life.
One of the things that helps me in this world of jealousy and comparison is really putting a label on… Is this actually jealousy? Or can this be transferred into another emotion that can be more helpful to me.
So the first thing you have to do is realize what jealousy is. Jealousy is a feeling, and when you feel jealous, you’re usually comparing yourself to somebody else.
Maybe there’s a person that has something that you want, Or something that you believe that you deserve, that you should have… Or that maybe you feel like you already should have.
And with that feeling, you feel less about yourself.
- You feel upset or you feel disappointed, you feel angry.
- You feel this fear of missing out.
- That you should be doing something more, or you’re not doing enough, or you should be doing something less.
Whatever it is, it sparks these feelings inside yourself.
And oftentimes with jealousy, there can be a little cattiness, as well, where there’s a part of you that might feel satisfied if you see this other person not do so well in some way or you see them suffer or fail in some capacity.
And then you’re like, “Okay, now I feel better about myself.”
That is a form of jealousy.
So one of the things that can be helpful in this type of situation is saying… “Okay, can this be jealousy? Can this be transferred or transformed into something else?” Something that we like to talk about being inspiration.
So when you are inspired, that can also put feelings inside yourself of, Oh, I’m not good enough. I’m not doing enough.
However, you can be like,
“Oh, well I’m inspired by this person and the things that they’re doing that I’m not. The things that they have that I don’t have, that it makes me want to do better.”
It makes me want to figure out, “Okay, where is it that I want to go with this, how can I get what I want that they have. And what are the steps that I need to do to get there?”
So see how this is a more healthy thing. It can be fuel, this feeling of inspiration.
Even if it makes you feel bad about yourself initially, You’re like, “Oh my gosh, this person has [so-and-so]. They’re doing this with their voice, or they have this many followers, or…” Whatever it is.
And being like, “Oh my gosh, I want that too! So let me figure out and ask myself these questions.”
What is it that you want that they have, and then how can you get there, yourself? What are the things that you need to do to get there, the obstacles that you need to overcome to get there?
And this could be with somebody that you don’t even know, right? Sometimes we have jealousy with people that we know, people that we’re closely interacting with, But then other times, it can be people that maybe you just see them on social media. And you really have no idea of the ins and outs of their life, but you see what they have that you feel like you want, And that can spark those feelings as well.
And then all of a sudden… Instead of jealousy, instead of this negative place that you can be in… it’s something that drives you.
So that is one of the best techniques that I have used is, if I feel this sensation of, needing to be doing more, or that they have something that I want too in my life… I think to myself, “Okay, that’s great! I want to change this into something healthy and to inspire me to do better. To get those goals and those things that I want.”
And so another thing that you can do is to realize how much of a trap comparison can be. Because when you’re comparing, it will never make you happy. There’s a lot of quotes and a lot of wisdom about comparison and how it can rob you of your happiness. And they’re absolutely true.
When you think about it, whatever it is that you want to be, Whether it’s like,
- “I want to be the best singer,”
- “I want to be the best opera singer,”
- “I want to be the best belter,”
- “I want to be the person on Broadway that does the absolute amazing best,”
- “I want to have the most followers,”
- “I want to be the most fit mom ever,”
- “I want to be in the best shape in the entire world, like everyone in their lives,”
Here’s the thing: there’s always gonna be somebody that is better than you in some way. So there’s always gonna be somebody that is more fit, or that’s prettier, or can sing a better high note, or can belt higher than you can, or that can really act onstage better than you can.
Whatever it is, there’s always gonna be somebody that’s better.
So do you realize in that comparison game, you can never win. Right? Because there’s never an endpoint.
And you could get to a point of maybe in your small town, where you could have a competitive nature in that way, Where you’re considered the ‘best’ at something. But then all of a sudden… Take your small town, and you go to college. And then what happens? Boom, you’re back in a pool with a bunch of fishies, right? And so then that’s a good dose of reality. And even then, you can climb your way to the top of your college. And then once you graduate college? Boom! You’re in an even bigger pool with a lot of fishies.
And so, do you see how there’s kind of this smack-in-the-face reality that happens that you can kind of prepare yourself for. Or prepare your students for, of that sense of feeling like it’s never gonna be enough. It’s never gonna be enough, so you don’t even want to play that comparison game at all. And realizing what it does is it makes you unhappy.
And you can also think, well, how are you getting to that point? And what are some of the triggers that if you can remove these triggers, you will have less of a tendency to feel jealous and unhappy?
Because when you feel jealous, what does that trigger feelings within yourself of? Unhappiness, maybe anxiety. Maybe depression. All of those things, you don’t really want to feel. They’re not necessarily good for your mental health, to be stuck in those places as often as maybe you are.
And so one of the things you can do is say, Okay, well what is triggering this feeling of jealousy for me? Is it when you see somebody posting on Instagram, or with their stories? With certain filters… It could be Facebook, or Tiktok, or whatever it is… You see them on social media and you see what they’re presenting to the world. And you can also maybe see the comments that people are saying about them. Or the amount of likes that they have.
All of a sudden, you’re like, “Oh man, when I posted my [fill in the blank], I only got ‘[fill in the blank]…”
And then all of a sudden, you’re like… “Ugh.”
Or maybe you’re like “Oh my gosh, she looks so good and I don’t look like that.” Or whatever it is… Realizing, okay, what is the commonality here?
It’s social media.
And I’m not saying completely get rid of your social media because in many cases right now, It’s an absolute necessity for people that are running their businesses online, doing things online… And there’s a lot of people there, so it’s understandable.
However, if it’s a source of unhealthy unhappiness for you, then it’s one of those things to be aware of and potentially just getting rid of that source. You can unfollow people.
For example, there might be somebody in my life—and I’ve done this before, where maybe I don’t even really know them personally. Or maybe I do, it doesn’t really matter. But it’s something where the things that they post, and what they’re presenting, it stirs up a feeling in me of “I’m not good enough, and I should be doing more.”
And even if it’s something that can inspire me, sometimes there are those people. Time after time, you just struggle with it so much with this feeling of jealousy. So what you could do with those people is you could unfollow them. Or make it so they don’t come up in your news feed. Because you have control over that kind of thing.
And it doesn’t mean that you don’t like them. It doesn’t mean that you want bad things for them at all. It’s just saying, “Hey, every time I see these posts come up, they’re triggering…” Fill in the blank feeling.
And then it’s like, “Okay, well I have some control over that, so I can take away that trigger that’s making me feel so crappy all of the time.”
You also have to remember that what people are putting out on social media… That’s in their control and that’s how they want you to see them. So if they’re just posting all these selfies and filtering them and doing all these different crazy things that we have with all these amazing apps…
All of a sudden, It will make you feel a certain way, but you don’t really know the struggles that they’re having in their life. You don’t really know what things that have been really stressing them out or bringing them pain or trauma in their life. There’s always things that go on behind closed doors that we don’t really know of, and we don’t really understand. And we can’t understand.
Just knowing that you’re in control of what you’re posting, and you’re in control of what you want people to see. You’re in control of what you yourself decide to have come into your news feed, or who you’re following.
And so just realize that it’s not just like, “Oh, they come up all the time…”
You can do something about it, so do something about it.
Because if you can control what can trigger it, then you absolutely should.
Realize that social media, yes, it’s important, but it also can be really bad for your mental health. We talked a little bit about this in comparison, but also just knowing that when you’re looking at social media all the time, when you’re just scrolling and scrolling and looking at other people’s stuff… looking at other people’s highlights… Maybe the things that they’re really proud of, or their accomplishments or their exciting announcements. Those are the things that we often like to post, right?
Just know that that’s not necessarily good for you. There’s a documentary out there that we recently watched, and it’s called “The Social Dilemma”. It’s on Netflix. If you haven’t watched it, go watch it. If you’re a person that has a phone, a smartphone, go watch it. If you have children with a phone, or children in general in this generation, go watch it. If you have students, go watch it.
It’s just so helpful to see behind the scenes. It’s a docudrama, and it has a lot of the bigwigs in the social media platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook. And they’re talking about how there’s some things that kind of came out of what they’ve created, and what to watch out for. And just some very alarmingly crazy facts and statistics about things.
And know this: that there is a big spike in depression and anxiety in relation to the amount of time that one is on social media. Just be aware of that.
And so knowing the facts that can maybe protect you. So if you’re really struggling with depression or anxiety, take a look at the amount of time that you are on social media. There might be some correlation there. And then that would be your opportunity to get help, to talk to somebody, to get into therapy… These are all wonderful options.
Now… I’ve talked about how comparison is not helpful in any situation. But there is one situation that I think comparing oneself is actually helpful.
And that is when you compare it with yourself!
So you can compare yourself with how you want to be in different scenarios. So for example, if you’re like… Okay, my goal is to be onstage and I wanna be amazing with my acting. And I wanna be amazing with my singing. What is it that I can do to get there?
And then looking at your current self and be like, “Oh my gosh, I videotaped my lessons and in there, I see my acting and I just look like a zombie. There’s nothing that’s going on, or maybe I’m not connecting with it on a deep level.” And then saying, “Okay, what am I capable of doing myself, personally? What am I capable of?”
Pretty much anything, right? Because you can do anything.
But it’s seeing where you are and where you wanna be, and not comparing yourself to other people. But just being like, “Okay, this is what I’m capable of.”
Try looking back. This is a really good one, looking back into, say a recital that was two years ago. And being like, “How did I sound at that recital?”
And then most likely, you’re gonna be like, “Oh my gosh, I sound so much better now.” And I can’t believe I was getting on my head about this note.” And it’s just really crazy when you do that, you realize how far you’ve come, and what you really are capable of doing all of the time.
I had a student that I was working with, and she’s been with me for maybe five years. There was a need to go back into a song that she had worked on a couple years ago. And in going back to that song, she had a very different voice a couple years ago.
We got to this part that she would always get in her head about. And she was like, “That was so high for me, there was no way I was like freaking out about singing that note in public.”
And then she got to it and she’s like, “Wait, I’m supposed to be freaking out about this note? But I sing five notes higher than this in public now, and it’s really no big deal!”
And it was just so funny for her to be like, “Whoa, look at how far I’ve come! Look at everything I’ve done with that. And I didn’t even realize.”
Sometimes you don’t even see how far you’ve come. So take a second and just look back, and be like wow.
“Look at what I used to look like before I really prioritized my health,
Or prioritized my sleep,
Or look at what my life was like before I knew that my family was so important and I started spending more time with my family.”
Whatever it is for you. In performing, in your personal life… Just take a look back and give yourself some credit.
Because oh my gosh, we can be so hard on ourselves!
But just take a second. And be like, “Yeah, that’s awesome! I’ve really, really come so far!”
If you do want to find other people to inspire you, because I know it’s hard to just stick with comparing to yourself… If you want to look into other people and what they have to offer as far as inspiration goes, as long as this person isn’t sparking feelings of jealousy and feeling like you’re not good enough, and it’s just kind of this downward spiral… It’s your job to take account of those people that do that, and remove yourself from the situation, or from their news feed or whatever it is.
But what you can do is you can find people to compare yourself to in a healthy way where they inspire you. But they have to be in the same life mode as you.
Me personally? I’m inspired by a lot of people. My mentors, people that helped me through a lot of this stuff And that I get a lot of my ideas and information from are Chalene Johnson and Brook Castillo. However, if I were to compare myself with Chalene… I mean, she is not in the same age range as me at all. She has two kids, just like me, but they’re in college- or out of college and they’re growing up now. And so she’s in a very different stage of her life. So if I was to compare myself with one of my mentors or someone that inspires me, I can’t do that with Chalene. Because it’s a completely different situation.
So what I need to do is I need to find myself somebody that has two kids. Or even more kids, that could work. Two kids, and then… Say, okay, what phase are they in their life? So are they around like… 30-ish years old? Okay, that would be a good person to compare myself to. Or maybe like one step ahead of myself, so maybe in the thirty to forty age range. They have multiple kids, and then they’re talking all about the things that they’ve done.
So for you, if you’re a student or a music major, compare yourself with other music majors or people that have just graduated. Don’t compare yourself with people that have lived in New York for ten years and now are on the stage and doing this and this and that. You can use that for inspiration.
But where you’re like, “Okay, where I need to be right now… I need to check in with where I actually am.” And then use that to compare yourself.
So if you’re in high school and you’re struggling with something, you can say, “Okay, let me find another student, or maybe a friend that’s in a very similar situation. They’ve had a lot of dance experience like I have, and they’ve been in lessons for five years just like I have, And their acting is phenomenal, but I feel like I can’t even get out of my head to be able to act.” So then what would you say? “Okay, well, let me figure out what kind of things I can do to get to that point.”
But that’s more of a healthy comparison when you’re trying to inspire yourself. Rather than comparing yourself to somebody that’s in a completely different phase of their life. If that makes any sense.
Overcoming Jealousy and Comparison Using The Scarcity Mindset and The Abundance Mindset
You have two mindsets that one can have, as far as this type of thing is concerned. You can have the abundance mindset, or you can have scarcity mindset.
Scarcity Mindset in Jealousy, Comparison and Competition
Scarcity mindset is feeling like the success of somebody else takes away something from you.
“Not everybody can have everything.”
It’s almost like, “No, I want this so nobody else can have this.”
Or “I’m worried that I’m not gonna have enough, or there’s not enough good things in the world, or there’s not enough roles in the world.”
“There’s not enough money in the world to be able for me to feel successful as well.”
“There’s not enough shows for me to have the lead parts that I wanna have.”
Those types of feelings are scarcity mindset. You feel like somebody else’s success is taking away something else from you.
Abundance Mindset in Jealousy, Comparison and Competition
And then there’s abundance mindset. Abundance mindset is being like, “Okay, just because this person is successful doesn’t mean that I can’t be too.” And there’s a lot of joy in the world to go around, there’s a lot of success in the world to go around. There’s a lot of parts and performance opportunities in the world to go around, there’s a lot of money in the world to go around. And feeling like you can wish someone else’s success and it doesn’t take away from yours.
So I have a friend that is in a very similar place in her life as me and when she has success, my biggest thing is that I’m like, Okay, when she has success, I need to make sure that it doesn’t make me feel like I can’t have that same type of success. If that makes sense.
And then I’m like, “Okay, abundance mindset.” If she has success, I’m like, “You go for it, girl. You get it. You go for it and you’re inspiring me to go for these things too and to hopefully have that same sort of similar success as you,” And not feeling like her having success means that I can’t. Or that takes away from my chances of having a success. Abundance mindset is the last technique that I think is very, very helpful for these.
Conclusion: How Do I Overcome Jealousy, Comparison and Competition?
So that is everything about jealousy and comparison.
To recap, just be careful about comparing, you’re in control of your news feed. And you can channel jealousy into being some sort of inspiration if it’s healthy. You can compare yourself with yourself. And if you’re comparing other people to inspire you, just make sure that they’re in the same phase of their life as you are. So hopefully those were helpful. If you liked this, give it a thumbs up and subscribe to be the first to know about new videos. Thanks so much, and have a good one!