This morning I was reading a blog post by The Bloggess, who was wondering if she was normal for feeling like she wasn’t achieving much, not being brilliant and shiny every moment of the day, and was thinking that everyone else was doing wonderfully and always having productive and amazing days. I think that sounds perfectly normal. We all do think those thoughts, whether we voice them or not.
We all compare ourselves to others. And we shouldn’t.
Whatever stage of life we’re at, there’s always someone around who’s done something sooner than we have, or in a bigger way – finishing a degree, getting that first job, climbing the career ladder, negotiating single life, having money for nice holidays, buying that first property, meeting their future spouse, getting married, having children, doing an overseas charity challenge, starting a business, getting that first big client, being successful in self-employment.
But behind all of that outward success there are individuals – with endless doubts, insecurities and a door to close against the outside world every night. None of us has a perfect life, whatever it may seem to others. Any one of the ingredients we feel are important for “success” might be missing, but we don’t show that to others, whether in person or online. The chances are, that person you think of as successful has something they’re sad about but aren’t sharing with the world. They feel they have something lacking, or they’re really disorganised, or there’s something that’s happening in their life that they can’t share with anyone. But they don’t often post that on Facebook or Twitter, they just talk about the good things – the things that they’re proud of or that bring them joy.
So don’t spend time comparing yourself to others – their life is not the same as yours, their challenges and successes will be different, their pace of change and their goals will be different. Focus on your own life and your own successes. Run your own race. Choose your own path.
Keep it simple – and focus on the important things
We all do many things every day and juggle a lot of commitments in our own quests to find the right balance – the right mixture of enjoyable work and financial security, of emotional support and opportunities for freedom and adventure – or whatever the essential elements are for us. But we’re never going to be able to do everything all at once, every single day.
We just need to remember what’s important to us and make sure we pay attention to that. Which almost certainly will not be what’s important to others. If by the end of a day we have done one thing that either pays a bill, advances a dream, supports someone else, looks after our own wellbeing, or makes us smile, we’ve done something right. Even if it’s just one tiny thing that feels like nothing.
What are the things that are important to you?
How can you make sure you do something about these every week, even if just one little thing?
Is there a small step you can take towards making your dream happen, is there a way of making £50? Do you spend an hour of quality one to one time with your child, or doing something nice or something helpful for your partner?
And don’t forget about yourself – whether it’s half an hour reading, watching a film you love, a good workout at the gym, a walk near home just taking in some fresh air and noticing your surroundings – doing something that’s just for you.