Most of the midterms are done, marks are being posted, and you lean back and think about how well you’re doing. The next day in class, the teacher tells everyone the class average and without a second thought, you compare it to your mark. You ask your friend how they did and you compare yourself to them. It’s a natural response to compare – we all want to know how well we’re doing relative to everyone else. But comparisons don’t just stop with marks. We look at other people’s accomplishments, browse their impressive LinkedIn profiles and wonder, how can such people even exist? Sometimes life feels like a perpetual game of seesaw, teetering on the edges of “are we better or worse?” We’re then stuck constantly asking ourselves, “Are we good enough?”
Being in university especially, it’s hard not to compare yourself because it seems like so many people have the same career goals. Sometimes that disappointment of not always being up to par with others can be hard to shake off, and it can eventually lead to feelings of inadequacy. Your self-esteem takes a big hit and you never feel fully satisfied with yourself. “Comparison is the death of joy,” said Mark Twain, and for many of us, life would be so much simpler without it. But it’s hard to just stop comparing altogether. A lot of us need way to know if we’re doing okay. One strategy is rather than focusing on comparing yourself to others, compare yourself to your past self instead. For example, maybe you didn’t get a great mark on an essay, but if you recognize how much better this essay was than anything you could have written in high school, there is a lot of satisfaction in knowing that you’re improving and becoming a better version of yourself.
When life feels like a constant competition for the same end goals, it’s important to remember that you have a whole variety of diverse career and personal goals that are different from anyone else’s. Maybe you want to be a better writer or maybe a more confident individual – you have such a distinct assortment of personal goals that even if life seems like a race, everyone is running their own race.
Also, even though you’ve probably heard it a million times before, it’s incredibly important to be nice to yourself. It’s true that we’re our own worst critics, and even if it’s hard, it’s important to forgive and accept yourself as you would others.
“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” – Steve Furtick
You’ve done some great things in the past and you’ll be doing even greater things in the future. We all feel pressured to get the same achievements, act a certain type of person, be the same model of success – but we’re all different and nothing is more satisfying than achieving success through your own means. Never feel like you’re not good enough.