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LeavesNoTrace's avatar

Need a pep talk. How can I stop feeling like a failure and comparing myself to others?

Asked by LeavesNoTrace (5674points) July 9th, 2017

See above.

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19 Answers

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Meditation gave me a firm, unshakeable core of self-love. It doesn’t have to be strict. Mine isn’t. I sit every morning for 10 to 30 minutes. I breathe, and I use guided visualization.

I also use medication, but I have a serious mental illness that calls for it.

Therapy has done wonders, and I highly recommend it. I also believe that regular, good sleep is vital.

All that works for me. Try the different parts for yourself. Maybe something will work.

johnpowell's avatar

Stop comparing yourself to others. And also realize that what you see is what they want you to see.

My sisters Facebook feed looked like the American dream. Twins birthday party with tons of kids and parents playing in their big front yard of their 400K house. So perfect.

Except… They were broke as fuck and her husband had been cheating on her a lot and cops didn’t have a problem finding her house. And he had actually been kicked out of the house while the divorce got going.

But everything looked great on Facebook. One big happy family.

Mimishu1995's avatar

It’s impossible not to compare. It’s human nature to evaluate oneself with a set of model to be clear where one is at. The trick is not to let the comparision consume you in the process.

Ask yourself why you are comparing to the people and feel bad. What you think of them is likely your idealized version of reality. You need to know that no one is perfect, even you, and the people you are comparing to are also dealing with their share of problems. You are only seeing the better side of their life. In the end we are all in the same battle, just with different demons.

You can also learn to be happy for others and use people’s success as a motivation. Practice gratitude. Learn to be happy for people’s success, and use it as something to work for your own success. In the end it’s your attitude that matters.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I think you already see a therapist. This is something they should be able to help you with. To help you develop a more sound level of self-esteem and to develop practises and skills that help you to deal with that horrid voice when you hear it.

I have a life coach and I was talking to her about how to deal with self-doubt, self-criticism and she told me that voice is symbolic of something. There’s a reason I’m hearing it. And if I can try to unpack why I’m hearing that negative self-talk, I can work out a way to take away its power. So perhaps spend some time thinking about when you start to feel this way, what triggers it and whether or not those things are rational.

I totally agree with @Hawaii_Jake‘s suggestion of meditation too.

Coloma's avatar

By remembering their will always be someone richer, thinner, prettier, smarter than you. So what? Live for yourself and know that the quickest road to misery is envy. A completely worthless emotion that leaves you dis-empowered.

My ex SIL had this problem, literally, while their custom home was being built in an affluent area she would cruise the more affluent “street of dreams ” homes and then feel sad she couldn’t be building at the next level. Drove me insane! Honestly, maybe therapy can help but yeah, you gotta nip this in the bud or you’ll be walking the path of misery forever. Having aspirations is good, envy and comparisons are depleting and unproductive.

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flutherother's avatar

Who are you going to compare yourself to? You are unique and you should remember that. Each of us is a human being beyond compare.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Get out and achieve something.

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JLeslie's avatar

I’m kind of with @johnpowell that whomever you are idealizing has their own set of crap they are dealing with. My husband and I looked like the young “perfect” couple to a lot of people I bet. Nothing is perfect, trust me. I had a lot of medical problems that interfered significantly with our sex life, I had anxiety for years from dealing with doctors. But, from the outside we were young, and making decent money, had nice things, it all looked peachy.

There was some study done that people feel better when they have equal or more than the people around them. Everything from peers to your house compared to the neighbors around you. I don’t think I fit in that statistic, but my husband does. I live to go through model homes and see all the pretty things, and interesting floorplans, and my husband just feels like shit that he doesn’t have all that stuff if the house is big and fancy. Maybe choose another group of people to hang out with. I seem to remember some of your friends are quite pretentious.

I also agree with @Espiritus_Corvus in the sense that work on your own goals so you can focus on your own achievements. Seems like you have achieved a lot considering what you have been through.

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josie's avatar

… If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should…

Desiderata by Max Ehrmann.

funkdaddy's avatar

Great advice given already. Something I haven’t seen mentioned is to get out and help others regularly. It can be with skills, money, time, or just support. People you know and love, or strangers in need, really whatever you’re more comfortable with and feels right for you.

It is nearly impossible to feel like you’re losing when you are giving without an expectation of return.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

^Yes, volunteering is a wonderful way to build self-esteem. I used to volunteer a lot before I got a full-time job. It helped a great deal.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Yeah. Doing good things makes you a good person. At least , it helps…

Every time I help a bug in my house, or help turn over an upside-down beetle, I’m helping relieve suffering. It helps me know that something is doing better because of me. When I used to work with animals, I loved my job.

Kardamom's avatar

I wish I could find the quote, but Eleanor Roosevelt said something like she knew she was never going to be pretty, so she was going to be useful.

Eleanor Roosevelt is one of my heros.

Be useful : )

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

Thanks, everyone for your answers. I was having a bit of an icky night having come from a party full of hedge funders, doctors, and business directors ten years my senior and feeling inadequate listening to all of them talk to me about their lives, their jobs, their families, travel, etc. My life isn’t dismal and I’m not an idiot, but I feel like, at 28, I don’t have quite as much to show for myself as I wished I would have thanks to a few setbacks along the way.

I grew up in a really small town where most people didn’t have much and higher education wasn’t really a given. I went to a state college and I’m more educated than most people I graduated H.S. with but feel like an absolute loser compared to some of the people I come into casual contact with.

NYC is a town where people are deeply invested in appearing like they have their shit together. Sometimes I have to remind myself that everyone else is still figuring it out and probably just as insecure as I am.

flutherother's avatar

@LeavesNoTrace That reminds me of the expression ‘born a man and died a hedge fund manager’. The original saying was a little differently worded but carried the same meaning.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

My ex-husband used to get very jealous of the people next door and their fancy car and material possessions. We didn’t have such things, but we also didn’t have debt other than our mortgage. @LeavesNoTrace, when I find myself looking at someone and coveting what they have, I try to remind myself that I’m really only seeing the surface and I have no idea about their lives, their own insecurities, their relationships and health.

As I said above, obviously I still feel inadequate at times, but I do try hard to avoid comparing myself and my achievements to others. I try to force myself to keep my own goals and desires in mind and not to worry about what other people are doing. It helps me. Sounds like you are doing well. Have you thought about getting a journal and writing down positive things about your life each day? What you achieved? What went well? Positive moments? It might be something you can read through when you get back from such an occasion and lose sight of how great your life is for a moment.

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