Warning: A lot of this is a message to myself because I need a kick in the butt. I hope you keep reading.
Comparison is the thief of joy.
I have heard this quote a multitude of times, and right about now it’s ringing pretty darn true. It’s so interesting how I feel like my insecurities shift as I go through life. For years the focus was on my body, and how I compared to other women and their bodies. For a while it was academics, feeling like I was inadequate compared to my fellow students especially when applying to college.
Lately I have just been feeling a general lack of confidence in pretty much all aspects. I have felt like my abilities are less than average, that my friends outshine me in one way or another. Perhaps this is because graduation is impending and I feel intimidated by the real world that awaits me. Perhaps this is because I feel like my friends have concrete goals whereas mine are more abstract, and therefore lesser.
Or perhaps I’m spending too much damn energy focusing on what other people are doing.
Comparison is always a losing game. Always. No matter what it is, my mind will always find ways to make sure that I fall short, even if it is illogical. Or if someone compliments me, my initial reaction will be to find all the ways that I can prove them wrong. And from what I have gathered from other people that I have spoken to, they feel similarly.
The thing about comparison is that it is so arbitrary. We make up these completely nonexistent scales to measure ourselves against other people, and for some reason all of our focus goes to that negativity rather than focusing on areas in which we’re doing really well. Lately, this is all I have been doing, and it’s been making me feel really, really not-so-great. It makes me feel sluggish, unmotivated, discouraged, and in turn I feel even worse about feeling badly. Not good.
So I have been taking some time to think about what I can do to turn this all around. If you’re feeling the same way, hopefully some of what I’ve come up with can help you too:
- Put my reality glasses on when I am on social media. Don’t get me wrong, I really like social media. If I didn’t you wouldn’t be reading this. BUT social media is seriously just a highlight reel. No one is putting up their shit, their struggles, or what they look like when they roll out of bed and still have their retainer in. No one is writing about failed interviews, exams gone wrong. So why oh why, when I am already feeling down on myself, do I go look at the curated and frankly fake world of social media? It makes no sense. So with every photo I see, I need to take it with a grain of salt.
- GET BUSY. I tend to do and feel my best when I am busy and when I have a schedule to stick to. I am not going to let myself sit around my room and mope. I can draw, go on a walk, talk to friends, watch a movie. I can acknowledge that I am not feeling so hot, but I am not going to let myself wallow.
- Be around people and do things that are life-giving, not draining. The last thing that I need when I am feeling low is to be around people who pull me lower. Friendly competition has its place, but I also know that there are certain people in my life who love to tell me when how great they are while slyly insinuating that I am lesser. Bye. I also don’t need to do things that are going to make me feel even more inadequate, like, say, researching job opportunities after crying to my mom on the phone about how I am about as job-qualified as a forest creature. Trust me, don’t do it.
- RECOGNIZE that I am me, you are you, and without our different strengths, weaknesses, and quirks, life would be SO boring. We all have our own reasons behind every action, passion, thought, and therefore even what is behind each skill and achievement will be different. I gravitate towards people whom I find interesting and funny and kind, and I value all my friends and loved ones for who they are individually. I never compare them or pit them against each other, so why do I do that to myself?
So all in all, comparison is pointless. It has no connection to your or my worth as individuals, and it only drains us of energy rather than inspiring us to grow and change. If you want to work on something about yourself because it would make YOU happy and fulfilled to do so, then more power to you. But don’t let your motive be because you feel “not good enough” or “not as good as ____.” Shut those thoughts down right now and know that you are kick-ass and perfect just as you are.
Phew. I already feel better after writing this post. Thank you for letting me word vomit all over this post. I hope that you, too, feel a bit better, because I know I do. Happy Monday you beautiful, unique person you.