On the wall in my office, these words, “Doubt Kills More Dreams than Failure Ever Will,” are posted as a reminder. A reminder to not compare myself to others but to work my tail off to be my best self. I want to do better and be better as a human being; as a wife, mother, friend, sister, daughter and writer. First thing’s first, stay in my own lane and don’t even look to the other lanes.
Let’s talk about envy and competition. I hate both because it involves comparing myself against others which is unfair because we’re not the same. Competition takes life and turns it into an unending race rather than the journey that it’s meant to be. It’s exhausting and seldom enjoyable. It’s not the road I want to take.
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How can we enjoy life when we’re constantly measuring ourselves against someone else. How can we compare our worst day to their best and ever feel like we’ve succeeded? How can we even have authentic relationships if comparison enters the picture? My whole life I’ve been pushing comparison to others to the side and trying to ignore it but still, it remains like a soft whisper reminding me of ways that I’m falling short.
I’ll be 1000% honest with you, I struggle with not using others as a measuring stick of my own success. It’s hard because I’m always striving for perfection and that doesn’t even exist so not only am I running this constant race but the finish line keeps moving. Did I mention that I hate running?
Envy steals rational thought
I have the privilege of surrounding myself with hardworking, overachievers and I’m so happy and proud of them. Their hard work is paying off. But sometimes, I find myself asking, “Why not me?” I know it’s petty and childish but it’s not something I deliberately do. I’m genuinely happy for their success and at the same time disappointed in myself. There I go comparing myself to them.
I don’t think any of this is luck. They are not lucky. In fact, if we’re being really honest with ourselves, we know why “other people” are living their best lives and seemingly always succeeding. They are tirelessly working to achieve their goals, they are pushing past the fears to make their dreams a reality and they are sacrificing. There is no such thing as luck, it’s hard work.
Maybe I’m succeeding by someone else’s standards but by my own, I’m treading water. I take full responsibility for this situation. I’m dead afraid of failure. I want to succeed but sometimes I’m so afraid of being exposed as an imposter that it’s easier to hide behind the status quo. I’m a control freak so when I fail the onus is directly on me.
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I try to do everything myself. I have issues trusting others to complete tasks and I always find it easier in the short run to only depend on myself and that’s also a part of why I can’t achieve what I want to. No woman is an island. We all have different strengths. We need each other to succeed. I need to let go. I’m working on that. I’m trying to ask for help when I need it without worrying that I’ll be outed as an imposter.
When I find myself envying my friends, my brain says don’t compare yourself to others but something small inside me feels less than for a moment. I feel like I’ve failed myself. Worse, I feel like I’m not good enough because if I were I’d be the one getting chosen. Then, rational thought kicks in and I remember to stay in my lane. It’s a process.
Success is relative. If I were basing my success on my relationship with my girls and the Big Guy, I’m winning. If I’m basing it on my Instagram, I’m failing. If I’m basing it on my opportunities, it depends on the day of the week.
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For now, I’m trying to follow my own advice and remember that I’m not you and you’re not me. Our definition of success is probably different, as are our priorities. I’m trying to learn to measure myself only against who I was yesterday compared to who I want to be tomorrow. I want to be the best me that I can be and I really am happy for you, even if for 1 split second I wonder why not me.
Do you ever struggle with feeling like an imposter? Do you ever experience envy? Do you ever find yourself asking, “Why not me?” You are not alone, we all have those moments. We’re only human. They key is not to dwell there. Don’t live there. You are better than that and so am I.