Wonder what that girl in your year at school is doing now? What your ex from your teen years is up to? How many of the people you worked with in your first job have kids now?
With the power of Facebook/Twitter/Instagram etc. you have the ability to satisfy your curiosity about the lives of people you haven’t spoken to in many years. Once you’ve had your reactions such as; ‘Woah those two got married last year?!’ and ‘No way is that idiot in a managerial role now’; you compare your own status to those that you have been social media stalking. Stress starts to peak as you feel like you are being left behind in the hideous thing called the Rat Race, and all your own successes disappear into nothingness as you focus on what other people have been doing with their lives.
How come they have achieved more than you? How are they so settled and you are not? How did they land that awesome job?
Does it matter?
Sure, their success stories might be of inspiration to you, and if so, that’s fantastic. There’s nothing like an uplifting story to get you pumped up for achieving your own ambitions.
But mostly wondering about how the heck that other person has become more successful than you when you know that they cheated on most of their exams at school is baffling and a waste of time.
I used to be terrible at exercise, as in I was lazy and the thought of getting up early to go to the gym was more of a nightmare. One day I decided to give running a try because I thought it would boost my low moods with those special endorphins it releases. I was worried about how I was going to look as a first time runner, sporting a red face and slow pace, but I did it anyway.
Needless to say, I was terrible at it. I picked completely the wrong time of day to have my first go (2pm on a hot and sunny summer’s day) and my best time of no-stopping was a grand total of 90 seconds. I got back home looking like a tomato who had had a near-death experience.
Surprisingly enough I actually went running again the next day. I wanted to beat my previous terrible record, as if I was doing a time trial on Grand Turismo. I could picture my ‘ghost’ racer stopping and starting constantly, and I fed upon creating new record times against myself.
Comparing myself to myself became an addiction, and running helped me release stress and shed my love-handles (an extra bonus).
Unfortunately I forget to apply this to my daily life. I constantly compare my success, appearance, friendships and general life choices to other people’s.
“I am my own worst enemy” couldn’t be more appropriate – who better to compete with than your own worst enemy? Who else would you rather show off your fantastic successes to?
I love to compete with my previous self, just as much as I like to think I’ve made my previous self proud. There’s nobody else who I’d rather exceed expectations for than my old self, because they are the only expectations that I should live by.
So there’s no need to look at how far ahead one of your old peers is in their career, or how many kids your old neighbour has now – their lives are not yours, so what should it matter to you? Everybody has their own crazy and complicated way to their own personal successes, so give live yours as you want to live it.