Lately I’ve been finding myself slipping back into the trap that is comparison.
It all started with comparing resumes. Application after application for internships I ultimately did not receive, yet I was constantly seeing my friends’ updates on LinkedIn about getting new positions, and there I was stuck with my job from high school. Even after I landed my first real internship, the cycle of comparison ensued. It was no longer a matter of having an internship or not but a matter of how many. When one wasn’t enough, my mind started to self destruct with lies of how I may never land enough internships to be deemed “experienced” when it came to real world job applications. As a result, I began grasping for opportunities wherever they might have been to try and compete with my classmates’ resumes.
Cover letter after cover letter, resume after resume. I made mistakes, which of course led to some inevitable other realizations.
I’M NOT PERFECT.
Whoa. That realization was semi-earth shattering. All my life I had been striving for perfection and wearing myself thin because of it. Although I knew there was no such thing as a perfect person, I didn’t reeeally live like I knew it. I expected perfection of myself and nothing short of it. One mistake on an application and I nearly lost it. I told myself I was incompetent of ever doing anything right and that I blew all chances of landing whatever internship I was applying for. Was this the case? No. Because I definitely got phone interviews and in-person interviews even with the minor error. Was the expectation to never make a mistake realistic? No. Because I’m human. Humans are imperfect in nature. Was it the end of the world and I was going nowhere? No. Yet it felt like it. I was so far down the comparison spiral that I couldn’t find my way back out.
So on I continued comparing myself in every other aspect of my life. Every aspect – down to some pretty dumb aspects to care about quite honestly. Acne. Style. Instagram – I started to compare my Instagram!?! I was setting the standard for my own personal expression on my account to other people’s. The accounts I was comparing my own to were filled with what I deemed “perfect” faded and staged photos. Staged. I now was comparing my own self expression to one that was falsely portrayed and catered to “likes.” Why did I feel inferior because my pictures were genuine and real?! That troublesome whisper of comparison that led to competition. Why did something as stupid as faded color make me feel as if my pictures were too loud with color? That lie that is comparison.
I live life in full-on color. I live life with an open heart. I live a life filled with real, raw moments, not “candid” poses. I live a life of joy. Joy that comes from being myself. Being real. Being genuine. So then why on earth was I comparing myself to others? Because I gave into the lie that is comparison. Because I fell victim to the slippery slope that is competition.
NEWS FLASH: NOBODY’S PERFECT. No one should be the golden standard of how you live life as you. Because no one else is you.
You see, you can’t really compare yourself to others. You just can’t. Because you can’t be compared – not even on a resume. Your character and hard work ethic aren’t things that can be easily compared or replicated. They just can’t.
Your life can’t be compared to someone else’s, just like your body can’t be compared to someone else’s. Just like forests can’t be compared to waterfalls. They’re just two totally separate, different things. They can’t be compared no matter how many times you try. Your beauty or successes can’t be compared to another’s. You just simply can’t compare two separate human beings on completely different journeys.
You are you for a reason. You’re not Abby. You’re not Maggie. You’re not Jordan. You’re you. And you’re doing a perfectly awesome job at it.