No matter how much we might strive for perfection in each area of our lives – in our relationships, in our careers, in our health, or even in our faith – it’s inevitable that we’ll fail at times and see others outshine us. Yet when this happens, what’s our reaction? Do we express happiness for our friends’ and co-workers’ successes in life? Is our happiness for them genuine?
This weekend as I screamed on the front lines with my team members in Tampa Florida I realized that celebrating the accomplishment of others was so fulfilling to me.
A sense of ambition and competition can inspire us to reach for new goals and be a useful driving force for improvement, but when our competitive tendencies prevent us from rejoicing in the achievements of others, it’s time to evaluate our thought-patterns.
In countless cases, our hesitation to celebrate the accomplishments of those around us stems from fear and self-criticism. Haven’t we all, at some point or another, felt as though someone else’s achievements would somehow limit our own, or that their success would somehow make us a failure?
Another’s success is never an impediment to our own, nor does it make us a failure. In the end, each of us is endowed with a certain set of gifts, which manifests itself in unique and beautiful expressions throughout our lives. Though we share several common experiences and participate in several of the same activities as one another, no two expressions are the same from person to person. As a result, shouldn’t we be striving to celebrate those traits that are unique to others and that have brought them success?
The more we start to search for and see the uniqueness of these inherent gifts in those around us, the less prone we’ll be to compare their talents or business success to our own — identifying instead the splendor of their gifts as something to be celebrated and encouraged. In focusing our thoughts to reflect on what is good and beautiful in others in this manner, it then becomes natural to let go of our need to “measure up,” allowing us to experience both inspiration and happiness when we see them excel.
This quote, often attributed to Abraham Lincoln, sums it up well: “I am not bound to win, I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to the light I have.”
Do you find yourself spending more time comparing and less time celebrating? What are some practical ways you can show support instead of harboring jealousy? Share some of the things you do when you find yourself in this kind of situation.