Wisdom GET!

WISDOM

This actually made me stop and go “Wooooooah” because I’ve never looked at it from this perspective before.That happens with more frequency these days, sometimes that’s a good thing sometimes that’s a bad thing.

Today it was a good thing I’d like to tell you about.

Ok so in a nutshell here’s one of my myriad of problems: I compare myself to everyone else and come to the conclusion that everyone (literally everyone I pass or interact with on a day to day basis) is doing better than me and that I am hopelessly lost in this world of confusion and despair. It propagates my apathy because I convince myself that I’ll never get any better, at anything, and will sink into mediocrity and nobody will come to my funeral and blah blah blah.

Right well, on reddit today in a random thread someone else expressed this sentiment albeit in a more diluted and less nihilistic way. The question of the thread was thus:

“What do you know to be unequivocally true and yet you still refuse to accept it?”

A simple question, fairly easy to answer. The answer I saw was something along the lines of:

“That no one cares about what I do as much as I do. I stress so much about how people view me and it I really shouldn’t.”

Now that’s me, although I heap on layers of self loathing and misery on top of that basic notion. However the response to that sentiment completely threw me off guard and somewhere inside the quagmire of my mind a shiny penny dropped into some magic hole that has left a lasting impression on me (I hope). This was the response to that worry:

“The problem is that you are comparing your behind the scenes footage to everyone else’s highlight reel.”

And BOOM! epiphany! I actually cracked a smile at this ridiculously simple and obvious observation. Every time I see someone do something that I think I can never do, every time I see someone succeed at something no matter how trivial, every time I feel bad about myself because the person I’m viewing is clearly above me, I am only getting a slight glimpse into one person’s life. I’m seeing one event that for all I know could be the only decent thing to happen to that person in months. I’m comparing my entire existence with just one of their transient moments in time. This has taken root in my mind and *I hope* it’s something I can use in the future when those familiar feelings start to run through my mind.

Thanks random reddit user. You have given me a useful tool to try and combat these irrational and damaging thoughts I have on a daily basis. I just hope I can make effective use of this tool.

f.

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2 comments

  1. Dude, that is awesome! I’m totally with you, too. I used to torture myself by comparing my career with some of my (admittedly extremely successful) peers. They earn more than me, have jobs with a higher status, and are probably shagging more than the Wolf of Wall Street. I made myself feel like shit.

    I now make a conscious effort to *never* compare myself to anyone else, mostly because (like you’ve observed), it just results in me feeling shit.

    If I accept the proposition that I (mostly) am in control of my own thoughts, then I can interrupt any “comparison” thoughts with a big red STOP sign, and choose to think about something else.

    At a slightly more esoteric level, I also believe that it doesn’t make sense to try to value infinitely multi-faceted human beings by one or two crude measurements. If I accept the (slightly dodgy) tenet that one cannot place a value on a human being, then it makes zero sense to try to compare them. It’s like trying to compare sub-atomic particles. One osn’t better than another, it’s just different.

    And you also discuss my other top tip for happiness (and confidence): stop caring about what other people think of me. You’re right – people are usually far too busy dealing with their own shit to care very much about other people. Sad but true. We are all equally unimportant.

    Besides, *I’m* the best judge of whether I’m behaving appropriately or not. My own opinion of my personal conduct is the most important. That may sound a tad arrogant, but really it’s just about having self-belief. And of course I remain open to feedback from people if they genuinely feel the need to tell me I’m being a dick. If I can put my ego to one side for a second, when people tell me that, they usually do have a point. But equally, sometimes I’m happy just acknowledging someone’s opinion without feeling the need to accept it as true.

    Dude, you are coming along superbly in your journey to understand yourself and your depression. You teach me new stuff too, thank you. Your writing is brilliant. Keep going.

I write nonsense so you don't have to. Although you can if you want...

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