Mental Health

Don’t compare yourself to others

Picture of a plant with wine glasses, a candle and orchids over a bathtub with the text “How can I help myself, a blog series on self-care”.

Sometimes it’s hard not to compare yourself with others. To not have expectations and wish to succeed at something terribly hard, which others take for granted, but it’s SUCH a LONG journey.

I can be impatient sometimes too. And you now, writers can get it bad with the imposter syndrome stuff. But when you’re disabled or are mentally or chronically ill, I feel like it gets even harder. People always either expect too much or too little, and so many times I’ve seen people pass me by in life so easily, I wonder if I might just be lazy as some people might say.

I used to compare and see people do way better. Better education, no debts, get good and stable jobs, have people boast about you, etc. And I felt like I’d failed. Not being able to work fulltime, losing my job, not being able to work in the field I studied for, struggling to find a job at all, and I just… That was just work. There’s also feeling like a failure of a friend and partner, worrying if you’d make a good enough mom in the future, struggling with everyday chores, and more.

It was like everyone around me was building a life. Building a house on a beautiful lot, the foundations built strong, cement lain by their parents. Seen them build their walls with the pretty doors and windows during normal childhoods. Saw how everything looked so nice. But I was struggling with a house that kept on falling apart and gardens that threatened to overgrow everything with thorns and weeds.

But I was looking at it wrong. I shouldn’t be comparing myself with others. Instead, now I try to focus on comparing myself with my past self. Looking back and seeing how far I’ve come, the work and effort I’ve put into myself. I can’t expect the same things from myself as others, because we’ve lived different lives and that’s okay.

So maybe next time when you’re feeling like you’re a failure, when you feel like you’re less, or called lazy, or feel like you’re not good enough, instead of looking at others, look inward. Look at your past self and see what you’ve been through. You’ve survived all that. You’ve lived through all of that and that’s a lot all by itself. You’ve learned, you’ve grown, you’ve gained…

I don’t feel like I’ve gained that much though…

That’s okay. Just know you’re enough. It’s a good start when you can feel that, and the first step to feeling even more. If you’re struggling to see the good in you, try having this conversation with someone safe, like a understanding loved one or a therapist. They’ll help you point out to good you might be downplaying or overlooking.

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