So much is changing in my life and all so rapidly, but I am just grateful to get a lot of sound advice from fellow PF bloggers. It's going to exciting, crazy, and different and I'm nervous and scared, but I will still continue blogging so hopefully you'll keep up with me as I go from zero debt to swimming in mountains of student loan debt. It will be crazy to see how my spending and saving habits change!
Okay sorry for the rambling...back to normal posting!
The Comparison Trap
If you were to ask me what a normal life was, I would have told you that my life is far from normal. In fact, it's so different that it doesn't fit the mold of what society thinks is the "right" way to live your life. Funny thing is, the way life is now...being different is the new normal. I have divorced parents, really young siblings, family in other countries, I got kicked out of college and got back in, I took a few years off after graduation to figure out my life, and I do a lot of different things that most of my friends don't do. I barely drink alcohol and I barely go out, and I'm okay with that.
I used to compare myself to others a lot, whether it was with celebrities, my peers, my parents, my colleagues or even random people that were my age. I would judge what I knew and saw and compare my life with all of its ups and downs to someone else's life. Comparing yourself to others is dangerous. Why? Because everyone lives a different life and has to deal with different circumstances and situations. You have no idea what that person next to you is thinking or going through regardless of what they present as true on the outside.
The reason for bringing this up today is because I used to compare myself to people my age a lot. I told myself that I needed to go to law school right after college. I was going to be finished by the time I was 24. I was going to get married by 25 and have a family at 26. I was going to be working in a wonderful company with the best benefits and a nice car before 30. I thought this was the right path for me because everyone (the media and my parents) kept telling me that this was the right path to take. They would tell me about their friend's daughter Julia or so and so's son Matt who was already making 6 figures and driving a BMW at 25. This would make me feel like I had such high standards to live up to and consequently I'd feel inadequate and like I was already failing.
A lot of the time, the hard work and the things that bring you down in life are all things that you keep to yourself or your loved ones. When I got kicked out of college, I was mortified. Me, an A student, was kicked out of school! I didn't tell anyone besides my boyfriend and my mom, as well as the people I went to school with. I honestly think that if I had let my close friends know what I was going through and how I had to work so hard to get back in, I would have had a lot more support which could have been more beneficial for my well-being at the time.
People don't like to share and brag about the times when they were at their lowest points. We like to share triumphs with each other and we like to talk about all the good things that happen to us. No one wants to be a negative Nancy! Yet, after creating this blog and sharing my experiences and raw emotions with strangers over the Internet, I have found myself being more open with people. In return, I've gotten a lot more support and encouragement than I ever have.
In the past, I would compare myself to my friends and I would get jealous when they were doing well in life. I would think along the lines of that person being "better" than me. I realized that no one is perfect and we are all human. Seriously, it's so much easier to be nice to people and to be honest, especially with your friends. This comparison trap also applies to almost everything else in life and it's something we all have to avoid.
I used to compare myself to others in many, many areas of my life:
School: She has better grades than me! She's smarter. I am so stupid.
Body Image: She's taller and skinnier than me! She's so pretty and I'm so ugly.
Finances: She drives a BMW! She's so freaking rich. I hate my life.
See what I mean? Without the comparison trap, I'd be a much happier person. I think this world would be a better place! Now, if only the media didn't encourage this behavior all the time...
Do you find yourself in this comparison trap?