Nathaniel Drew starts his most recent video with the quote “comparison is the thief of joy”. An insight into my soul, this quote rings true, especially right now. This week.
I’m writing this because last night was a night where I felt the most like a failure, like I had done nothing in all 23 years of my life. I realise now, the morning after, that I felt this way because I had judged myself, hard. Judged myself for all the things I had not yet accomplished, for all the things I couldn’t do and was expected to. I compared myself to my siblings, my peers at work... “we’re the same age, and I’m here and they’re there... why? Why am I not adequate enough to pass them in everything they do?
This comparison mindset is what made me unhappy. My ego was making me unhappy.
This last night, and potentially most of this year, I haven’t been thankful for what I have. Instead, I have paid attention to the people who have more than me. Nathaniel makes a good point in his video where he points out: “can you imagine what people from 500 years ago would think about the world that we live in?”. We have access to information and resources that could only have been dreamt about and yet we’re still unhappy.
Comparison is hard-wired into us, it’s ingrained in our thoughts when we wake up to when we go sleep. When we check out social media first thing in the morning, when we see the price of our phone to another, when we enter our building at work, even when we look in the mirror. “It’s how we make sense of the world”, Nathaniel says. He goes on to discuss how he’s “a young man trying to prove himself in the world and his ego needs external validation”. I agree. External factors push us to think we should be on a certain path or belong in a certain box and it’s hard to push back on those thoughts. Objectively, I completely understand the pointlessness of external validation, but when it comes to myself and my ego... it’s hard. “In my competitiveness, I often invent opponents and rivals and place my focus on them, instead of on myself”. This mentality physically and emotionally drains me, to the point where I feel too inadequate to even try, because if I don’t try then I won’t fail.. so I think.
I’m struggling and I’ll be honest, I’m not sure where to go from here or if it’ll ever be possible to not compare myself and my achievements at all, but I’m working on it.
You can watch Nathaniel's Drew's video here
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