Acknowledging Comparison and Moving On

swingswing

Lately, I swear, it feels like everyone is getting married. Okay, perhaps they’re not getting married quite yet, but they’re at least engaged, or close to it. I really don’t think I’m exaggerating either. Just the other day, I went and got a haircut and even the girl that cut my hair is about to get married, move to New York, and do that happily ever after thing.

Now normally, I feel pretty grounded and content with where I am in life. I’m single, I haven’t found a person I want to spend life with, and I don’t feel like I’d be ready for marriage at this point in my life anyway. Yet still, recently all this talk of marriage has made me feel like I missed some very important memo, and as a result am doing all the wrong things in my life.

The fact that I’m working to better myself, am in graduate school pursing a career in what I love — it all seems insignificant lately. And when I start to think that way, I really just want to slap myself and say, “Come on Tahani, pull it together, you’re being ridiculous!” And even though I know that’s true, lately it has taken a lot more work to convince myself.

So I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it is that makes us feel the need to compare our lives to others, and as a result devalue our own.

You know, we see the pretty picture of the lives people lead, we don’t see their arguments about taking out the trash, or the awful things they may say when they get angry. We don’t know about their insecurities, their hurts, we don’t know much at all. And yet, we let our mind make these leaps that convince us that while everyone is moving forward in life, we’re standing still.

I keep reminding myself that I’m not standing still, I’m just moving forward in my own way, at my own pace, and there is nothing wrong with that.

I think my biggest mistake would be trying to push away these thoughts of comparison, because that wouldn’t erase them from existence, it would simply silence them. Instead, I allow myself to feel them, the inadequacy, the self doubt, and although I don’t let myself linger there very long, I let myself feel. After that, I talk myself back up, remind myself that I’m worthy and unique, and move along with my day. Of course, it’s not always that easy; sometimes I linger in that stage of feeling for quite some time before I’m able to push through, but I think it’s an important process.

Acknowledge comparison when it shows up, and then remind yourself that although your life may be different, it’s still a pretty great life.

4 thoughts on “Acknowledging Comparison and Moving On

  1. Oh, I am right there with you, I’m trying really hard to not do the comparison dance; but it’s inevitable. Instead I’m trying to turn it into an opportunity to highlight what I’m doing right, on the path that I’ve chosen.

  2. The best piece of advice ever given to me was “Never compare yourself to others. Only compare yourself to yourself. You aren’t living their lives, but your own.” I cannot tell you how much that has helped me get past those times of self-doubt and get back on track with my life.

  3. Great advice. I feel like I’m standing still often too. I started keeping a journal of all the things I do during the day (big or small) that move me forward. It could be finishing a blog post, making a phone call, or cleaning the house. When I focus on what I am doing, my life does seem pretty wonderful.

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