“I am my own competition.”
Two weeks ago, I came across a text post on Tumblr that read “I am my own competition. I’m competing with myself.” It didn’t leave my brain, so it’s time to write a little bit. As much as this post is a realization, it will also serve as a comforting reminder to my future self (when I cannot sleep, when I feel overwhelmed, small, stressed, or confused). My biggest competitor is and always will be me, myself, and I.
It’s easy to compare myself to everyone else but just because someone else is successful, beautiful, intelligent, creative, organized, kind, confident, respectful, tech-savvy, insightful, and determined doesn’t mean I can’t be all of those qualities, too. I will always be losing if I compare myself to others’ accomplishments. There will always be someone out there who has done something I wish I could also accomplish. Where does it end? It’s a recipe for misery, unhappiness, and self-pity. It keeps us focused on aspects of ourselves and life that we dislike.
For the longest time, it wasn’t quite the easiest thing to see my own worth, potential, and/or progress. I would often compare my behind-the-scenes with someone else’s experienced highlight reel. One of the worst things we can do for ourselves is to compare ourselves to other people. With our interaction with social media, it’s effortless to get caught up with what everyone chooses to show the world–it’s easy to get caught up in jealousy and wanting what other people have.
Most people do not show one hundred percent of their lives on social media platforms so we cannot see the whole picture. If you were to browse through my Instagram feed, you wouldn’t be able to tell that I’m very much a homebody or an introvert since most of my photos are when I’m out and about. It’s easy to believe that everyone else is leading a better life than you are- “I want to look like that”, “I want to do that”, “I want to go there”. We don’t know what those people wish they had or what they believe they are lacking in their life.
It’s unfair to compare. It doesn’t do us or others justice. No one started where they are, ever…like this list of celebrities that reveals we are never too old for success. As long as we have goals and ambition, we can and will go far when we effectively plan, implement, and execute.
I am my own person, as are you. My pace is not the same as yours, and that’s more than okay.
Just because I’m not where I’d like to be yet doesn’t mean that I won’t ever get there. Overnight success does not exist.
When I reflect on everything that has happened in the past year, I am actually so proud of myself. We can be our own worst critics, and we forget to celebrate small wins, but I’ve realized that I need to be kind to me too.
I’ve become so much more unapologetically me. My values and morals are crystal clear to me and therefore have molded me to become a lot more straightforward and honest with myself and others (I also do not tolerate nonsense). I have become more proactive and have seen myself speaking up whenever I feel it to be necessary. I feel more comfortable when it comes to networking and socializing events. My plant I got on April 22 is still being watered!
Appearances can be deceiving. Looks will fade. Material things can be taken away. No one, however, can ever take away the combination and essence of me. No one can ever replace the me that I am as a whole–my quirks, sense of humor, likes/dislikes, knowledge, strengths and weaknesses, my mindset, hopes and dreams, smile, memories and experiences I’ve created and/or left behind. No one is an exact replica of me and that makes me special and unique. I’m ready to work on bettering myself some more.
Bottom line: the only person I want to compare myself to is the person I was yesterday.
Here’s a list of six things I am learning to do/am doing/am realizing that I feel could allow you to stop comparing yourself to others:
- Comparison –> inspiration.
I find myself feeling energized and refreshed when I surround myself with those who constantly want to learn, grow, and improve themselves. I am genuinely happy for friends, and I think that it’s important to learn to celebrate accomplishments of yourself and others. Being genuinely happy for others while continuing to strive and accomplish all that you set your mind to. We often don’t think about the hours and effort people put into working towards an achievement. We also fail to realize that most of the time, the only person stopping us is ourselves.
- It’s not over yet!
Half a year ago, I was invited to an improvisation session from a contact we had at work (a vendor we worked with to conduct improv workshops with our MBA students at NYU). My contact had a background in theater and brought up a fantastic point about viewing life and events as one scene or a snapshot. It is truly powerful when you think about life like that. Things will pass. Nothing remains constant. Where you are today doesn’t say where you’ll be in three years. Our mindset, attitude, and where we’re going matters more.
- Be your own ally.
There are times when that voice inside my head spews BS about how I’m boring, stupid, and other awful things. Instead of joining in, be on your own side! Soothe yourself, comfort yourself, and give yourself some kick-ass pep talks. If you wouldn’t say it to a friend, don’t say it to yourself.
- You’re social media’s boss.
It can be difficult to feel comfortable and confident in ourselves 100% of the time when we’re constantly consuming everyone else’s highlights. Social media can be a great source for inspiration, but also trigger feelings of self-doubt and frustration. Too many people view life through the lens of social media. Social media should not be in control of me. It’s okay for me to take a break and take care of me.
- No “shoulding”.
It has escaped my mouth too many times to count: “I should be/have this by now” or “I should be further along than I am now”. This focuses on everything that I’m lacking without pushing me to spend that valuable time and energy on building my future. Instead, I am going to say “I will”, keep myself accountable, and make it happen.
- Perfectionism = fear.
In my “Six things I do to express more and expect less” video, I mentioned how I waited so long to make this blog go live last year (I put it under construction, wanting to work out the kinks and making sure it was “perfect” before it was published instead of tweaking it as I go). There was also a seven-month period where I published zero blog posts even though I had a million of ideas and thoughts. I was paralyzed by the need to craft the perfect message. Perfectionism was probably just a better way to mask the fact that I was afraid. Fear of the unknown. What if people don’t like that? Inaction creates fear and doubt. Fear kept me from following my heart and made me avoid what I was passionate about. Everyone fails at something. Doing and failing is better than not trying at all.
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