We’ve all been there. Amongst the Millennial Generation, comparing yourself to others is so common. Here’s why you should cut yourself a little slack sometimes.
I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that sometimes I compare myself to my friends.
In the last six months, out of my four closest girlfriends, one got engaged, one bought her first house and the other two are moving away from Townsville towards the next chapter of their lives. I, on the other hand, eat a fair amount of two-minute noodles for dinner, leave my clothes on the line for days after they’re dry, and spend an embarrassing amount of time doing Harry Potter quizzes online… Hey, at least I’m honest.
I made a commitment a long time ago to focus on my career and let everything else fall into place. But it can be very easy to fall in to the comparison trap instead. I know, because I’ve been there. In our generation, we’re constantly flooded by people (both in real-life and online), achieving and succeeding at things we could only ever dream of. Society places a lot of expectations on the Millennial Generation to conform to a set of standards that are perceived to be correct. It can often feel like you’re not measuring up and so we naturally look to those closest to us for guidance and direction. Sometimes when we look to our friends, it can be easy to feel like you’re not at the same level as them, or that you might not have what they seemingly do.
It’s all too easy to compare ourselves to others. Making comparisons is the worst thing we can do, yet we still do it! It’s typical of our generation. And the worst part is, the envy can hit you unexpectedly. One day you can be perfectly content with your life and then all of a sudden, you realise all your friends are seemingly moving forward with their lives and you’re still in the same position you’ve always been. You start to worry that everyone is leaving you behind.
But here’s the one simple piece of advice that someone wise once told me. You cannot compare yourselves to others! It’s that easy. Other people are on a completely different journey to the one you’re on. They’ve been through different things and they want different things to you. Just because they’re in your life as friends, doesn’t mean your life has to mimic theirs. Just because your life seems like it’s at a standstill, doesn’t mean it actually is. Everything in your life, and the lives of those that surround you, is there to teach you something, even if it’s not that obvious at the time. Because if we were all threatened by other peoples good fortune and success, then we’d probably never make it out of bed in the morning!
There are always going to be things outside of our control. Life is uncertain and unpredictable and we simply can’t control every single outcome. As cheesy as it sounds, sometimes we have to let fate take its course. It’s all about timing. Maybe you just need an extra year to develop on your own, to travel, to have more life experiences. Maybe you need to take time to step back and relax and truly learn how to be on your own. Maybe you need to work out whose standards you’re trying to live up to. Society has done a really good job of telling us where we’re supposed to be at certain times in our life. So what if you’re not married by 30, it doesn’t matter if you’re still renting at 40, who cares if you decide not to have children! The brilliant part is, everyone’s life is different. The only standards you should have to live up to are your own.
So instead of falling deeper into the comparison trap, give yourself a little credit. Just because you haven’t lined up with what you thought your life would look like by now, doesn’t mean it will never happen. Instead of comparing myself to my friends, I’m trying to become their own personal cheerleader. When they succeed and something amazing happens to them, I want to be there for them; to congratulate them, help them, and celebrate their success. The more I do this, the more I’m empowered to keep working towards my own goals.
At the end of the day, I’m ridiculously freaking proud of my friends. They inspire me, they motivate me and they encourage me to be better. It’s so important for our generation to encourage each other. As we forge our paths in this world we need to cheer each other on instead of comparing and competing and knocking each other down. So that when your time of success does come, you’ll have a whole army of friends waiting to cheer you on too.
“At 23, J.K Rowling was broke. Tina Fey was working at the YMCA. Oprah had just gotten fired from her first job as a TV reporter and Walt Disney had declared bankruptcy. It’s going to be ok.”