Each goal I set, each achievement I make, and each step forward I have taken has been ranked against everybody else. This has been my way of analysing and reflecting on my life for as long as I have lived. As a consequence, I am constantly in a cycle of belittling myself over every aspect you can think of. I struggle to see anything other than when people do better at than me, how much further ahead they are, how popular they are and how much better they look than me.
The older I got, the worse has become.
Spending all of my school years pretending to be something or somebody I am not in order to stop myself from being excluded from peers. Never once can I recall a period of time where I honestly felt that I was able to be myself, as I feared judgment from others because I didn’t tick every box that would guarantee I was well liked, accepted and successful.
What has made matters worse is knowing that the five years when I was ill, I can never get back. When everyone else I knew growing up was getting on with their lives, I stood still, moving nowhere. I keep tearing myself apart because I believe that there is no hope for me to make up for the time I have lost, that I can no longer do any of the things I wish to do the most because that time has come and gone.
It is a terrible self-destructive habit, but I continue to do it.
It’s a natural human instinct to compare, due to our evolutionary drive to improve and better ourselves. But when this drive becomes so overwhelmed that we no longer have total control, then it begins to take away our chances of having true joy, love, and happiness.
As we go about our day we are bombarded with my advertisements, photographed and filmed to promote the ‘ideal’ look, product, brand or life. Newspapers and magazines carefully playing with our emotional strings to grab our attention, so we a sucked into wanting something else, to be or look like someone else.
Social media has provided us all with a powerful weapon to endlessly look at how the people we know are doing. We can watch their lives behind our screens and compare our life to theirs, focusing on what they have that we don’t. We may not realise it but every single day as we scroll through our feeds, there will be a moment of comparison you make about yourself to something or someone. Whether it’s in a good light or bad, it happens.
Though this is one of the most painful matters to face up to, I know what has changed. This can’t continue to rule my life any longer, as there have already been too many years robbed away by comparing my life to someone else who is not me and I am not them.
Having spoken to my mum and boyfriend about how much this is causing me distress, I am going to make a conscious effort to prevent any form of comparison. It is not doing me any service to pick fault at everything and anything that may not be quite how I would like it to be. None of us are ever going to be perfect, it’s unattainable, so why should I waste my precious energy on something that is not bringing me joy?
There is nothing wrong with not being on that ‘set path’ we were raised to follow. We don’t need to be anything or anyone other than ourselves because has that is exactly who we were born to be. Each one of us is beautifully imperfect, and here for a purpose that is moulded around our unique qualities, experiences, and beliefs.
Seeing my life through another’s world will not get me to where I am meant to go. Though I may not have fulfilled everything I hoped to have done so far, doesn’t mean that they won’t happen in the near or distant future. It is down to me to believe in myself enough to trust in what is;
I am exactly where I need to be.