Throughout my life, I’ve carried the heavy emotional burden of weighing my abilities and accomplishments against those of my siblings. The relentless comparison produced a toxic web of jealousy and envy that made me constantly question my value and worth. I knew something had to change. That’s why, after some thoughtful consideration, I’ve decided to break free from this trap by becoming inarguably more successful than both of them.
After years of self-inflicted mental anguish, I began to examine the root causes of my destructive thought patterns and realized what I needed to do: dominate them in every aspect of life until they feel like the collective black sheep they always knew they were. And it turns out, I was right! Turns out, conventional success is a powerful antidote to the anxiety of unfavorably comparing yourself to others.
For example: Last year, my younger brother returned from a 10-day meditation retreat and reported a transformative, mind-expanding experience. Envious of both his growth and his very even tan, I resolved to become better, stronger, and faster at meditating than he was. And I did. One 30-day silent retreat later, I realized that jealousy is a complex and largely useless emotion, but it also serves as an unparalleled source of competition-driven personal growth.
I can still remember how painful it was for me when my older sister, Megan, was chosen to be the valedictorian of her graduating class. “Will I ever be able to achieve as much as her?” my teenage self asked. The answer, I now know, is yes, as I have since mustered the fortitude to convert that toxic envy into pure, unadulterated drive. And now I have 3 advanced degrees, a flourishing consulting practice, a fulfilling creative life, and a husband who is just slightly less successful than myself.
Now that I’ve transcended the torturous confines of jealousy, I feel much healthier and more capable of emotional regulation. For those dealing with the agonizing emotional trap of sibling comparison, break free simply by converting your self-criticism into a rapid thirst for success! Only once you are unambiguously more prosperous than everyone in your immediate family will you really be able to truly appreciate them for who they are.