Whether you drown in a puddle or an ocean… the outcome is identical.
Nobody’s experience is equivalent to your own, positive or negative.
That said, humans are hardwired to keep up with the Joneses. To peer through the metaphorical window at our neighbour’s flourishing crop, whilst bemoaning our own middling harvest.
Comparison is the thief of joy, as Roosevelt so aptly said. It’s a quote we innately know to be true, yet the knowledge doesn’t change the mental gymnastics we perform for an audience of one.
“He barely had to graft to get to that position.”
“I’m a failure compared to them.”
“We went to school together… why am I only here and she’s so far ahead of me?”
It’s doubtless you’ll have uttered something along these lines. Does it make you an arse? Yes, temporarily. But, as long as it’s not festering inside you, it also makes you normal.
As we age and attempt to understand ourselves better, we improve at the ability to pierce our own frustrating self-talk. That understanding takes constant practice. Without repetition, our thoughts careen towards the self-flagellating.
It’s all too easy to find oneself miserable and marooned amongst the knitted smoke of mental comparison.
Evolutionarily this would be beneficial. We’d assess why our neighbours were more successful in an effort to improve our own chances of success.
Today, unless you’re built to use it as fuel, it does little more than jade and frustrate.
Beauty’s in the eye of the beholder. So is pain.
No matter the depth of your experience, you must realise that you have a stupefying capability to affect change. Whether that takes place in the rooms you enter, or the group chats you giggle amongst, the domino effect of your efforts have a genuine impact on shifting the needle.
Too few of us realise our own remarkable agency. Instead, we assign ourselves a smaller role in the play than we deserve.
If you nobody has told you recently, let us:
You have so much potential. No ambition is too big. Nothing is out of reach.
Shoot for the moon. You can always address a problem.
Even a small lighter can burn a bridge, as Kendrick says.
The more we minimise our power, the more we allow a brazen few to collect a disproportionate share of the spoils of life.
However incomparable, your pain is valid.
Whatever the size of it, your success deserves recognition.
The future you fantasise of is on the other side of a series of actions you’re yet to take.
In spite of it all, keep going.