Posted in Journal

Vicious cycle of comparison

Life is not a competition
Life is NOT a competition…

…is something i’ve been telling myself every time i start feeling envious of my peers, whenever i feel like i am not on par with them, or when it feels as if i’m falling behind. You lose out once you start comparing (i know, i know), especially if it is against something you lack, don’t have/possess, or are not. The list of things you’re unhappy about will be bottomless and that’s downright unhealthy.

I guess no matter where we’re currently at on the social- or career-ladder, there will be someone who’s above us. If we keep looking up, it is easy to fall under the trap of inferiority complex and feel that we’re just simply not good enough. It is a situation i hate, as i began wondering “why can’t i” or “why is it so hard for me” when others seem to have it easy. Though i bet it is far from easy, some people just make it look easy. While it is not even a comparable comparison (it won’t be apples to apples — i have no idea what they’ve been through and vice versa), sometimes those thoughts just crop out out of nowhere, uninvited, unannounced, but sticks around for awhile.

Even if you don’t take to comparing, you can’t avoid being compared. The first one most likely comes from family: points out that “your sibling/cousin is blablabla” and then motivates you to (try to) be like them. Comes school years and you’re pitting against your classmates and then batchmates on who scores better on tests or exams, and who eventually gets higher ranking. On the last year of high school, the discussion will be on which ‘cool’ major you’re applying for and who’s admitted to which prestigious university, overseas would be even better. Cut to three to five years later, (almost) everybody has graduated and the buzz is now on who’s holding what title at which top company. Then it’s time to move to the next stage in life and see who throws lavish wedding.

Kid(s) will come along and the cycle continues…

That’s not all there is, but at whichever stage, the more your position can elicit a wowed look/reaction, the prouder you’ll feel. Or so i believe is the case. I am not sure… ‘cuz that way life looks like an endless competition to one-up the other, wherever you go, wherever you are. Whether or not you like it or are aware of it, you’re in one. And for me, that’s exhausting. Thus, i’ve tried going at my own pace, not caring of what people think and expect of me, and simply being grateful for whatever is mine right now.

Still, it’s hard. From time to time i look outside my bubble and notice how far my peers have gone and how they seem to be living the life. They’re there and i’m still here. Even though i’m not competing against anyone else, i still want progress and it frustrates me that i’m not advancing as fast as i envision it to be. More often than not, i’m my own biggest critic — competing against my own high expectations and thus feel terribly angry at myself when things don’t go according to plan or when i fall short.

So maybe it has little to do with others — it’s just me and the goals i set. Because there’s no solid rules stating you should do/be this at this age, e.g. graduate with a degree at 22, get married at 25, hold managerial position before 30, yada yada yada. Age limit only applies to life as a civilian (before one can smoke, drink, drive, marry, vote, etc), the rest is society putting pressure on one’s private/social lives. Or maybe it’s me pressuring myself to ‘measure up’. Like my peers have achieved this or that at my age, i should strive to match them before i can feel good about myself.

…sigh. I don’t know anymore. All i know is no matter how hard i muse that many aspects of life aren’t a competition, i’m somehow not quite convinced. Perhaps because deep down i believe the otherwise. I’ll chide self till i overcome these feelings. So yeah, excuse me while i’m re-reading my favorite uplifting quotes and listening to songs with positive and/or comforting lyrics. Or through any other means that works.



I blog sometimes, gush ofttimes, snark all the time.

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