It’s so easy isn’t it? To just sit and scroll through social media and think “wow they’ve done well since uni, why haven’t I?”. Thanks to social media and the constant stream of news, we see a lot about who’s doing what and how young they were when they set up their first business. But just how do you stop comparing yourself to others?
Unfortunately, this post isn’t like my others and I don’t have the magic formula. I could just do my normal post research and see what other ideas people have but there’s no point pretending I’ve got it all worked out and I can squash my thoughts of comparison. Because I can’t and it’s something I really struggle with.
I suppose that’s why I want to write this even though I don’t have any advice. It is so common to compare yourself to other people and I know that everyone struggles with it at times. Especially in this age, as I say, where you can see the filtered versions of what everyone is up to on social media and how well they’re doing.
Personally I don’t think Instagram is the worst for comparing yourself to others, especially not with careers. LinkedIn is where I find myself in a black hole of comparison and wondering how on earth someone my age can have achieved so much with their career. I find it really useful to see how someone has progressed in their job, but it also makes me feel so behind.
This post has probably got to the point where you’re thinking, but you’re 21 you obviously don’t need to have it figured out yet. So I hope other graduates and students understand what I mean when I say that we’ve been convinced, or rather deceived, that getting a degree will mean we’re in our dream careers, achieving promotions every year and have aced it all by 25.
Some of my ideas of how to stop
One thing that helps me with this whole thing is trying to remember that it doesn’t matter if your friend is a successful doctor if you’ve never considered becoming a doctor. Why should I worry or be envious about someone else that’s doing something completely against your goals? It doesn’t matter if something is defined as successful if it isn’t what you want to find success with. Or so I tell myself but then I still end up thinking why wasn’t I set on a career in law or medicine from a young age.
I do find that being aware of the issue helps. I know when I’m comparing myself to others and that allows me to stop sooner than just wallowing in those feelings of self-doubt and comparison. Some things I try to tell myself when I feel like this are:
- I’m on my own path, which will probably bend away from others and seem like I’m heading in the wrong direction but I need to stick with it
- It won’t help me in any way to compare myself to others or think negatively about their success
- I’m allowed to mute accounts on social media that make me feel rubbish
It is really easy, especially as a young adult, to compare yourself to people. As a graduate, we all have our degrees now and we are ready to take on the world and see where we get. But sometimes people can edge ahead, they happen to know the hiring manager at a top firm, they got into the industry or market at the right time. There’s always things that put people ahead, but it’s important to tell yourself that your time will come.
If you have days or times where you feel a bit inadequate and find you’re comparing yourself to others, don’t worry. As long as you know that you’re doing it and are aware that it isn’t good, necessary or justified, it’s alright to have those thoughts.
You are good enough, you’ve got your own path in life and things happen for a reason.
Although there probably isn’t much to go off here in terms of solving the problem, hopefully it can help just one person realise that it’s only natural to have thoughts of comparison and self-doubt.
If you’re struggling at the moment, you can take a look at my other self-care posts here.