"Envy is hating what you want."
That's what my therapist/spiritual advisor told me a couple days ago when I went to see her about my nasty habit of comparing myself to others, feeling I always come up short, and descending into the depths of despair and uneasiness in my own skin.
So I had to come to terms with the fact that what I envy in other people, what irritates me about them, are the very things I wish I had, some of which are characteristics that would contribute to my personal evolution if only I would allow myself to admit that I could learn from someone else instead of always having to "be right" or to blame.
It was also pointed out to me that we keep engaging in hurtful thought patterns because, on some level, there's a payoff, we're addicted to it. It feeds some kind of need we have to shield ourselves from the heart of the matter, from change, from moving towards our higher selves. Because this would imply letting go of our ego and its needs. And that bitch is HUNGRY. If we don't feed the ego, it gets nasty, fast.
I was told that to be truly free, thus happy, I had to let go of blame and of needing to be right, forever. It was acknowledged that this is no small task but one that can last a lifetime. I asked: "Well, how do I do this without becoming a doormat?" "You can still have boundaries" my therapist replies. "Instead of saying "You're wrong" or lashing out, say "When you do/say that, it makes me feel (insert appropriate word here)."
And if someone is asserting, whether directly or indirectly, that they know more than we do, better than we do, etc..., let them be right. What do we care who's right or wrong if we're truly grounded in our core. Often, when we're asserting our "rightness", we're overcompensating for our own sense of insecurity. It's about us, not them. We stop listening and we're disconnected from the actual situation, interpreting it through our faulty filters.
So, I asked "How do I stop comparing myself to others? How do I stop hurting myself this way?" Her answer: "You're too focused inward. Start to focus outward; really listen to people. Get the facts." Be present. That way my "story" of not being good enough doesn't colour every interaction I have, thus creating space for me to learn from those around me how to be a better person, all the while knowing that I'm perfectly ok, right now.