Dear Dr. Laura,
I think your topic about comparing yourself to others is great. I think we all do it, and it's very difficult to avoid. It can certainly be destructive. Envy is not one of the deadly sins for no reason. Coveting other people's spouses or possessions has certainly led to the downfall of many. I am constantly on the watch for that type of thing in my life. I don't want to fall into that trap.
I do think there can be a positive side of this. If you know someone who has something great going for them, it's natural to compare yourself. But if you're coming up short, being envious and petty is not how to handle it. If you can figure out what they are doing which caused them to have such a great situation, you can earn that for yourself.
I get told all the time it's unfair to judge the marriages of the people around me as compared to mine. To a certain extent that is true. But sometimes that statement annoys me. My husband and I are an unusually good match. I think it's rare to find a partner who clicks as well as my husband and I do. The thing is, I am as female as the next woman. There are days where I want to be snotty just because I feel like it. The difference is I choose not to do it (and when I do, I apologize and try to avoid it in the future). We don't agree on everything, and we have habits that annoy each other. The difference between my marriage, and the marriage of many of my friends, is we CHOOSE NOT TO FIGHT. It's a choice every single day that we are not going to make each other's lives hell for the sake of saying we "won". When you alienate your spouse, you didn't win any damn thing, in fact, you lost more than your spouse did.
Instead of saying my husband and I are unnaturally in sync with each other, if more people asked "How do you guys get along so well?" - they would see how they too could get along. When I find someone with an attribute I admire, I do compare myself. When I come up short, as I often do, I try to figure out what they are doing that gave them the attribute. Then I do the WORK to earn the right to call that quality mine. None of the people we look up to got where they are without work. They all had to decide what they wanted to be and work hard to get there. The only good reason to ever compare ourselves to someone, is when we are willing to do the work to change ourselves for the better. Otherwise, it's just a form of torture.