Our contributor, Yemisi, shares a short yet poignant post about the burden of comparison, and the bliss which accompanies overcoming it.
Credit: Shop Dandy
This month has been a reflective month for me, and it was filled with a few lessons. One lesson that I would like to share is about being weary of comparisons. Social media has everyone, myself included, putting their best foot forward. We see posts and updates about new jobs and promotions on LinkedIn; we see friends and acquaintances celebrate anniversaries with Mr Tall, Dark and Handsome on Instagram; we see people advertise their new business ventures on Twitter. After rotating across all the social media apps on our phone, I think it’s safe to assume that at one point we can also feel a bit disappointed in ourselves. We can start to beat ourselves down.
I went through the comparison phase for a while and it started to eat away at the joy and contentment I had. I didn’t feel like I was achieving as much in comparison to others. I have a decent job, but it’s not a front office job in Canary Wharf. I’m single with a dusty hotline that isn’t blinging. I still haven’t thought of a world-changing idea that will make me a millionaire. It was only after my Mother said a prayer of gratitude about life that made me realise how self-critical I was becoming. I was reducing the value of my achievements, my relationships and my happiness because I’m looking across at someone else’ life. I was focusing on the negatives in my present circumstance, negatives that may cease to exist in a few years’ time or even by the end of the year, that I completely ignored the positives in my life. It was becoming emotionally draining.
I returned to my old secondary school to give a talk about my academic and career choices thus far. Preparing my speech forced me to take stock of my achievements. Trying to remember my thought process of why I studied this, or did that made me appreciative of my experiences, support and guidance I’ve had. In one way or another, I’ve tried to add value to myself, my inner circle or community. It has shaped me into the woman I am today.
As I walked around the school, I asked myself if my 11 year old self running around the corridors would be proud of where I am today. After a long think, I would have to say ‘yes’. I am content with my portion. I know that time and chance will continue to work in my favour. I believe that opportunities to progress forward will present themselves at the appropriate time. What I can do, and you also in the meanwhile, is appreciate this thing we call ‘life’. Enjoy the journey.
Appreciate the small moments of happiness. In the last few weeks, I have laughed, smiled and celebrated. I have added value back into the things I took for granted. Rather than focusing on the negatives, I have chosen to embrace and learn the lessons life had presented to me.
Yemisi is an Economics graduate from the University of Kent, and currently working in Financial Services. Connect with her on Twitter @YemisiDreams