Dealing With Comparisons and Feelings of Inferiority

We’ve all been there, right? One day, you start to feel pretty good about yourself, whether it’s for your academics or a hobby you’ve devoted yourself to, and then (quite inevitably) you see someone who is a million times better than you will ever be; the nail on the coffin comes when said someone casually says a phrase along the lines of, “Oh, I’m not even trying right now.” Know that feeling? Yeah, that happens to me a lot. But this week, I took my first company class—my ballet studio was doing a fundraiser, and my usual teacher was thus busy helping out and unable to teach the class. The company consists of all the amazing dancers at the studio, and there I was, a large but short oaf with literally nothing going for me. I felt like I was intruding on their turf, and like they were judging me every single second; I exited the studio feeling the most embarrassed I’d ever felt in my life, which inspired this post. (I’m feeling better now.)

Anyways, whether it’s an award-winning writer saying, “Oh, this? I just wrote it right before the deadline and thought ‘why not,'” or a dancer with incredible extensions saying, “Yeah, I don’t stretch,” or even a student saying, “I didn’t study for the test, but I still got an A, so it doesn’t really matter—it was too easy anyways,” it’s so easy to get bogged down into feeling inferior to others nowadays. Someone is always smarter, better, cleverer, prettier, stronger, funnier, etc., sometimes seemingly without even trying, and with the invention of the Internet, it’s as if people with amazing accomplishments are bombarding you from every corner imaginable. Well, in this blog post, I’m going to show all you lovely people how I personally deal with comparisons and feelings of inferiority!

Tip Number 1: Going into a new environment and worried about what other people are going to think about you? Well, chances are, they’re not even going to be thinking about you! They’re primarily focused on themselves and trying to make sure that they’re not going to make a fool out of themselves.

Tip Number 2: Remember that you are your harshest critic. It’s easy to see and emphasize the flaws in yourself, but most people actually don’t see that. For example, whenever people comment on how horrible they look, I’m always surprised because I don’t see what they’re seeing at all! And vice versa: when I see all my blemishes and imperfections and tell them so, they’re always just aghast at how I could feel that way. Why do we always see ourselves in such a bad light and beat ourselves down when we never see the same things in others? We all have flaws, yes, but it’s no use hurting yourself over them, and the majority of the time, it’s way over-emphasized!

Tip Number 3: It’s incredibly easy to be jealous or envious of someone else, especially in this day and age. However, it’s easy to forget that oftentimes we don’t know the whole story. We may not know how much work somebody is putting into something; sure, they might be all nonchalant and say that they don’t study, but who knows? Maybe they’re just putting up a front. Most of the time, we never see all the struggles someone goes through, and a lot of the times, they really deserve what they’ve achieved. That’s not to say that you’re inferior to them and that you should just give up now—it’s to acknowledge someone’s hard work or natural talent (which is something they can’t control even if they try). Once you let go of that mentality (it’s hard, but worth it), it frees both people in the situation: you can be happy in your own accomplishments and theirs, and they don’t have to feel sorry or embarrassed about what they’ve achieved.

Tip Number 4: Yes, you might be not as good as that person standing next to you, but it’s not about that. You know how everybody says, “There’s always going to be somebody better than you”? Well, that’s true! It’s impossible to be truly happy with yourself when you realize that you’re never going to be the best of the best. With this mentality, it’s easy to start feeling like you just want to drop everything and descend into a calm of passive mediocrity, so repeat after me: it’s not about where I am in relation to others, it’s about how far I’ve come. It’s quite unfair to compare yourself to others, especially when some may have natural talent or more years of experience! But just look at where you started and where you are now, and doesn’t that make you just a tiny bit proud of how far you’ve come? Getting external motivation is lovely and very appreciated, but it can be fickle—internal motivation, on the other hand, is something you can cultivate yourself and will not go away as long as you remember how far you’ve come.

Tip Number 5: Some things just aren’t in your control, and that’s fine. You can only control how you react to them, and that, right there, is the defining moment of character (in my humble opinion, of course). We’re fallible, and we have flaws; we have limits, too. We’ll have good days and we’ll have bad days. Be happy in the here and now, but don’t be fully content; work for the future, but make sure to give yourself rest and time as well! It’s okay to not be where you want to be right at this current moment; we’re all changing and improving every single day, and it’s the progress that counts! A Type-A personality isn’t perfect, for you often can’t stop, take a breather, and enjoy your current accomplishments, but it’s not good to not really care about anything, either. Life’s about balance! You can’t truly and completely enjoy the light when you haven’t seen the dark.

Well, this was a pretty long post! I sincerely hope this helped you, wherever you are in life. It’s easy to forget and get wrapped up in how utterly terrible we are at everything, so treat yourself today and let’s look towards a great week! See you next Sunday!

Camp Nano Update

Camp Nano is going great! I’m really liking my project so far, and the communities I’m in are all super entertaining and lovely to be around! I missed a few days, but I’m going to work today to catch up.

This Week’s Playlist

  1. Gravity by Sara Bareilles
  2. Back to You by Alex and Sierra
  3. Control by Halsey
  4. You’re the One that I Want (from Grease)
  5. Waving Through a Window (from Evan Hansen)

Reading 

  1. Introduction to Poetry by Billy Collins
  2. Happiness by Jane Kenyon

 

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