“Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. All people live in their own dream, in their own mind; they are in a completely different world from the one we live in. When we take something personally, we make the assumption that they know what is in our world, and we try to impose our world on their world.” – The Four Agreements

Why do we compare ourselves to others and let them define "success"?

define success define success define success

There are certain milestones we’re all expected to reach over the course of our lives. From the day we are born there’s already a timeframe for when we should be walking and talking. If we don’t progress in an acceptable amount of time then something’s wrong with us. These milestones continue to follow us through school, relationships, careers, and family life. Whether it’s what we want or not, we’re seen as failures falling further behind if we haven’t achieved certain things in our lives. 

Instead of experiencing life in our own way and at our own pace, we end up restricting ourselves to the conventional timeline that everyone else is following. But once we realize that we can live our lives when we want and the way we want, we should allow others to do the same. So why do we keep track of how successful our life is in everyone else’s terms but our own?


It’s unwise to let the success of our lives, thus our happiness, be determined by what other people have in their lives. It’s all relative. We all come from unique backgrounds and experiences that influence our position in life. Some have their paths neatly laid out and padded with success. While for others it’s a struggle to find a reason to continue each day. Everyone’s experience is their own and it’s not for us to judge who has the “best” life. We all have moments of pain and suffering, the only difference is whether it’s physically, mentally, or emotionally.

By comparing our life to someone else’s and letting them influence what we should have or be we diminish our own sense of happiness. When others judge us it’s more of a reflection on who they are, not who we are. Most of the time people are too worried about themselves. How they look, act, and are being perceived. So when someone judges us, it’s really due to their insecurities about themselves and their life. They’re jealous of something in our life or frustrated about something in theirs.


When people make judgments it comes from that specific persons perspective. So no matter what they say, we can’t let their judgment affect us because they don’t really know who we are. Only we know our own reality. Knowing and loving ourself protects us from what others say. Then if and when we want to reply it’s done with sincerity and understanding since their negativity never sank in in the first place. Thus anything else they take personally will be due to their own perception.

We won’t get along with everyone we interact with, but if we constantly feed into judgement it’s difficult to find a sense of harmony in our lives. If we consider that everyone in our life is there for a reason, then they all must have a part to play. We need the “good” and the “bad”, but that doesn’t mean we have to let their negativity affect us. As long as we are confident in ourself, we’ll see that we need various opposing people in our life to help us learn and grow. Yet, their thoughts and opinions of us will never define who we truly are.

"Let nothing dim the light that shines from within" Maya Angelou quote on a piece of paper laid on a field of daisies


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