The last two months I have struggled quite a bit with being satisfied with myself. Naturally, I tend to compare my personal success to others’, and naturally I strive to be on the “same level” as many successful young women my age. After a while, it becomes exhausting. Comparison is actually one of the most exhausting things I do in my spare time. I tend to look at how much money people (seem to) have, wonder if they’re graduating on time or falling behind in school (like me), if they live on their own or with their parents (like me), the list goes on . For some reason, if they are facing the same struggles, I feel better. If they are doing vastly better than me in all categories, I feel jealous. This may be normal, but it’s completely unhealthy too.
This year especially, I made it a point to try and do everything that a “successful” young woman would do. I had the beautiful boyfriend, we shared the beautiful (and over priced) apartment, I got a car in my own name, I signed up for 6 classes in school, even got a gym membership I couldn’t afford (Oh, and I started an amateur blog). And guess what? I lost almost all of those things, minus the car and the blog.
I hated myself. I hated that I lost control of my life. I was disappointed that I couldn’t have everything, that I couldn’t have the perfect life. I became so obsessed with perfection, that it began to eat away at me and I drowned in it. It took a lot for me to swallow my pride and start from scratch.
I definitely lacked control of a lot of things happening to me. I couldn’t control my relationship spiraling out of control, I couldn’t control the feelings of loneliness resulting from it. I couldn’t control the fact that I was in debt and the people controlling my money paid me based on how much they enjoyed their dinner. I couldn’t control that I had to move back in with my parents because I had no time and money to afford my beautiful apartment. These things killed me, and I lost it.
I spent a lot of time sitting around, feeling sorry for myself. I spent a lot a time resenting the people that I felt had a hand in the things happening to me. I had a couple of emotional breakdowns and a few pints of rocky road ice cream. And I know what you’re thinking: “get over it.” And believe me, I thought that too. I felt pathetic! All I could do was stop–I decided to give it to God and leave it alone for a bit.
Instead of obsessing over the things I lost, I started looking at the things I was proud of. For example, I have managed to stay in school full time despite all of my personal life issues. I have managed to still work 5 days a week despite the stress. I have managed to look at myself and say “I’m beautiful, I’m strong, I’m better than this.” I started doing this every. single. day. I know that it might sound cliché, but this is important. It is so important to be proud of yourself.
These may sound like vague “of course you did these things because that’s life” victories, but you can go deeper. Today I woke up and ate breakfast. Today I took a walk instead of watching another episode on Netflix. Today I finally finished that paper. Today I drank WATER. Celebrate every tiny victory. Today, if that victory is just getting out of bed, amazing. Each day challenge yourself to overcome something, and when you do, for the love of everything beautiful in the world, be proud of yourself.
Remember your life will never be perfect. Something will always be missing. You may not always be on the same page in your life story as someone else. I’m still learning each day to let go of the perfection and the stress that comes with it. Go at your own pace, and smile while doing it, because you’re amazing in all your little ways.