One of the worst traits about myself is my toxic, almost obsessive, need to compare myself to others. The other day, for no reason at all, I decided to look up the age of a woman that I respect. I discovered she is almost exactly a year older than me. My reaction to this was far from healthy. I decided that it was proof that I was completely wasting my life and proof that I should just consider giving up. A person only a year older than me was more successful so my life must be over? Once again you are probably thinking, “Megan this is ridiculous”, but these are very real thoughts that I live with in my life. A friend of mine streams and she is a year younger than me. The fact that she is more successful than me but also younger causes me a large amount of anxiety and self hatred.
We all compare ourselves to others. It is human nature, but that is not what I do. I see a person and say, “they are doing x and I am not doing x so it is a mark of complete failure on my part”. I also do the reverse. I obsess over examples of people that were older than I currently am when they reached certain milestones as a way to validate myself.
I have this unhealthy need to validate everything about myself based on what those around me are doing. In fact I have it to such a degree that I often use comparisons to other people as a way to comfort myself. Case in point, I have a female family member that has accomplished A LOT in her life both professionally and personally. I often look at her and consider myself a failure. To help me cope with that I try to compare myself to other family members that I feel are roughly the same age and at the same point in their lives as I am. This is not validation however, this is still just my toxic need to measure my own self to others.
I don’t think I can accurately portray how much I do this. I track my age in comparison to family, friends, people I will never meet but admire, even people I don’t respect in order to say, “Ha, I am better than this person”. It’s really… it’s sick.
I have struggled to even get this blog post written because I started to do it once again. Started to type out, “Well I am doing better than some people. So it’s okay that I am not doing as well as others”.
Frankly it’s a damaging and horrible way to live my life. I can make excuses, including but not limited to a number of people in my life basically conditioning me to be this way. However, much with my last epiphany this one comes with the harsh reality that the only one to blame is me. This need I have to measure my self worth by a made up margin of “I am doing better or worse” than someone else is nothing. It shows no small amount of horrible things of my own character and how I judge other people, and creates a world in which I never win. Even if I am “better” than everyone else I compare myself to, I am still a person that devalues others to such an extent.
I am not pleased with this blog post… in fact I am down right ashamed of myself. I also realize that harsh truths are still truths and still important. I need to stop living my life as a person that constantly compares. My value is not based on other people, nor are other peoples’ values based on some standard that I’ve made up. The only person I can be is me, and the only thing I should worry about is striving to be better.