Quick Thoughts on Comparing Ourselves to Others

Inadequacy. It’s like a poisonous Slinky toy, traipsing in and out our all of our lives and minds with a moment’s notice. You could feel like you’re on top of the world, but all it takes is one innocuous Facebook post, or a throwaway comment from a friend. Suddenly, your accomplishments don’t look so stellar. Actually, they look like crap, and now you’re panicked because it feels like you’re the only one not to have achieved this wonderful, awe-inspiring milestone/award/position.

The thing is, when you think that way, you become a shell of yourself. All of a sudden, you’re second guessing yourself, wondering if you’re good enough to apply for things and ask for things. You stop living authentically and doing things because they make you genuinely happy and fulfill you.

In one sense, you’re right, competition is not just a figment of your imagination, or a construct meant to keep you stressed and insecure. Competition for jobs, internships and admission to schools and programs is very real.

Nevertheless, worrying about whether you measure up to your peers all of the time and constantly treating others like they’re out to get you or one-up you gets really exhausting after a while, and it’s a miserable existence from start to finish.

Here’s a suggestion. Make a gratefulness list. Keep it simple. Put things like “I’m grateful for having had breakfast, lunch and dinner today,” or “I’m grateful I was productive today.” I find that you’re able to really slow things down and stop taking the little things for granted. That way, the next time you see someone’s huge FB announcement about some crazy accomplishment or accolade, you can see it for the large, abstract and ultimately non-(your)life altering fact that it is. You are amazing and you are enough, because you are you.

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