Until my recent adult life, if you had asked me if I had any friends who I didn’t feel like I was in competition with, the answer would be no. By nature, I’m a very competitive person. All through high school and college, I had a hard time feeling like I wasn’t competing with my friends. Whether it was simply that I thought they were prettier, more boys liked them, if they were a better pianist, etc. I didn’t have a single friend that I didn’t feel like competing with, at least to some degree.
Entering adulthood, I still felt this way in many friendships. And I know I’m not alone in this. I had a friend in college who, when a mutual friend asked if she should dye her hair, told her no. She later told me that she’d told her no because she thought our friend would be prettier than her, if she did dye her hair. Little competitions like this have littered my friendships over the years.
In the last few years, I’ve given up a lot of these unhealthy friendships. And I can wholeheartedly say that my life is 100% better with friends who empower me. I have a lot of friends who are also bloggers, writers, photographers, etc. And I don’t feel like I’m competing with them. Yes, part of it is that we’ve finally reached a stage of life where those petty competitions aren’t nearly as important as they used to feel. But part of it is that, as an adult, I’ve learned to be pickier with my friends. And the friends that I have carried with my from high school, we’ve had to evolve our friendships to be less competitive.
One of my favorite hashtag campaigns on Instagram is communityovercompetition. I have a sister that runs a baby accessory shop, but she still supports other shops that sell bows and bonnets. I have blogger friends in the same or similar niches to my own, and we support each other. It’s a hard concept for me to grasp, that not everything is a competition. But when you set competition aside, you’re left with an amazing community.
And what better community to have, than one made up of people working towards the same goal as you? I’ve learned that there is a joy in sharing your tips and goals with friends who inspire you. And then they share right back with you. So instead of feeling like you’re doing everything alone, you have a small community of inspiring friends to lean on.
You won’t get far in life if you feel like everything others do is a competition to you. She didn’t post that selfie because she thinks she’s prettier than you. She didn’t post about her baby’s great sleep schedule to mock you and your baby who still gets up more frequently. And she didn’t post her opinion on something simply because it counterattacks your opinion on something. Stop letting others actions dictate the way you act, and stop putting yourself in competition with others. There is something to be learned from every single interaction that you have. All you have to do is put yourself in a mindset to feel inspired, and stop competing.