This year, I made no resolutions. Last year, I made a list.
And because of that list, I spent much of 2012 writing and re-writing said list, convinced that staring my goals in the face every day would help me achieve them. It didn’t. And not because my goals were unrealistic, but because they were fuelled by comparison.
My friend says (because she heard it quoted, and I can’t remember by who, but I can always remember my friend who said it), “Comparison is the thief of joy” and I’m pretty sure that’s the truest statement I’ve heard. Comparing yourself to somebody else will never make you feel better or inspire you, it’ll leave you feeling jealous, or lacking, or just plain shitty. No one has ever said, “And when I compared myself to this person, I began to feel better.”
At least not in my experience. You can be inspired by somebody (their drive, their ambition, their kindness, how after they’ve put so much effort into something, they receive deserved recognition, etc.), but to compare — to look at them and say, “Oh great, well they’re [this age] and I’m [that age], and what am I even doing?” will only make you feel worse.
I spent a lot of last year comparing. In fact, most of my 20s were spent doing the same thing. You look at this person’s success, or that person’s personal life; some dude’s finances, or some lady’s career, and then you look at yourself. And you feel like crap. You feel less than, you feel worse, you wonder, “What am I even doing?” and you feel jealous. And when you’re jealous of your friends or people you respect, you feel the opposite of motivated or even good.
I don’t think it’s possible to make “resolutions” from that place. If what you want — or in my case, what I wrote down — is tainted by “well if so-and-so can do it, so can I,” I don’t think you’re pursuing something you actually love; you’re pursuing something for the sake of having it. Yeah, I wanted to get out of debt and travel (two things I wrote down), but that was after looking at what other people were up to; because I wanted to feel “equal” to them (what?!). That’s just shitty for everybody involved.
So here’s my resolution: fuuuuuuuck comparisons.
We’re all on different paths, and doing different things, and as my friend Barb said to me the other night, we never know what somebody’s backstory is. Maybe your pal got a really sweet gig, and you want something similar. Well that’s terrific for you. But did you put the same amount of work into it as they did? Do you know what went into them landing that gig? How much time and effort and dedication? Probably not. But you’ve compared them to you, and devalued both yourself and that other person in the process. I’ve done it. We’ve all done it! We’re human beings, and sometimes human beings’ thought process can be ridiculously horrible.
So no more comparisons. No two people lead the same lives, and everyone’s “journey” (*everyone reading throws their computer out the window because that word is gross*) is different. Own the shit out of that fact. And if somebody tries to make you feel worse for how you’re going about your career or personal life compared to somebody else (or their own), cut those people out, too. (Provided they’re not actually just good friends who are genuinely worried about you if you’re doing something reckless.)
This is a new year, you guys, and yeah, sure, resolutions can be lame. But resolve this: YOU DO YOU. Or at the very least, don’t let someone else’s successes define yours. There is absolutely no point, and you’re wasting time spent that could be spent being proud of a friend or an acquaintance or just somebody you admire. (Let’s not be jerks — imagine someone’s reaction to something you worked hard for was, “Oh… that’s really good…[awkward weird silence thing].” They’d be the worst, and terrible friends.)
And as for those people who you feel really don’t “deserve” what they’ve achieved? Well, who cares? If those people didn’t work hard, or they conned their way into something, or they’re straight-up bad people, why even look at what they’re doing? They’re not worthy of your energy or time or anything you could be putting into the goals that mean a lot to you, especially if they’re manipulative or etc. or something-something [accusation]. And for the love of all that is good, delete them off your Facebook and Twitter lists before you go insane.
So fuck comparisons! It’s 2013. It’s time to work toward what you want because YOU want to, not because somebody else did whatever and now you have to catch up. You’ll waste the best part of your career that way.
And if you see me writing down a list of goals at any point, remove the pen from my hand and force me to read something that has the word “journey” in it for 14 hours straight. I’m serious — it means I’m doing the awkward-weird-silence thing. And nobody needs to deal with that.
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