Combatting the mindset of comparison
Our society is becoming increasingly competitive. We place an increasing amount of pressure on ourselves internally to do better and constantly compare ourselves with others.
I am Korean-Canadian, and I moved to Canada when I was in Grade 2.
After I moved, I also had some Korean education experience when my parents forced me to attend hagwons (private educational institutions). There is such a great contrast between the pressure and the strictness imposed by students and teachers.
I have moved to a more lenient environment where I am able to try many diverse things. I was able to try activities such as figure skating, ukulele, clarinet, dance, piano, and now the viola (which I play in an orchestra), and my mom has become less strict. However, I have always struggled with comparing myself to others; I often compared myself physically to others and would make assumptions about others that would degrade my worth. It was only after going through some major family events and mental health issues that I realized, probably in my Grade 11 and 12 years, that I just had to accept myself.
Today, I see that everyone is working on their own paths, working towards a goal they want to achieve. We don’t need to constantly feel like we have to do better than the people around us, or constantly feel the need to compete with them; I greatly struggled with this mindset in the past. I used to regard others’ social media and always envy how perfect their life is with their friends, their good grades, and their good looks. I constantly felt low. This also caused me to be blind to the fact of how I was surrounded by people who loved me for who I am and who were supporting me.
Comparison is inevitable in our lives; it is human nature. However, how we react to these negative thoughts will determine how we are affected by these thoughts.
For example, when I find myself envying another person’s life and feeling bad about myself, I try to then immediately think of things that I am grateful for in my life. There are so many simple things in life that go unnoticed and underappreciated, such as my warm, comfortable bed that I can simply lay down on at the end of the day for rest. Also, I remind myself that my goal is to be happy and to become the best version of who I can be — not to channel all my energy into being better than others, or to become exactly like whoever I idolize.
You are unique and loved, even though your mind may not say so. No one is “perfect”, as everyone possesses an inner story that we never know of.
Here is a quote that I love that I found on VSCO:
YMHA Mental Health Network Coordinator & Contributor