Comparison - 81

It is a habit of mine to compare myself with others. It is an especially unfortunate one when I combine it with my ambition.

I really, really like being good at things. I am a generalist by nature, and I strive for high-quality results in everything I do; writing, music, math, standardized tests, sports, and on, and on. And I am pretty good at most of them, I'd say - the problem comes along when others are better than me at those things.

I feel simultaneously secure and fragile in my ego. On one hand, I have good friends, good grades, fun side projects, and an all-around good life; I feel confident and strong most of the time. However, when someone is better than me at something I like to do, things often change inside (albeit briefly). I feel threatened by them, envious of them, and I compare myself to them. I lose my self-assuredness; I may become defensive, or easily angered for no particular reason. To summarize: I have a large but weak ego.

My response to seeing others better than me is usually "get better." While it is somewhat motivating, it creates an unhealthy relationship with myself, as I strive to become perfect in all of these different things that I pursue, even those that I pursue casually. I'm stuck in a loop of busyness, 'improvement', without any intention-setting, reflection, and often without any real progress.

I think there are two things that I can do here:

  1. Retrain myself to learn from people that are better than me at these things.
    To do this, I would have to turn my thoughts on their heads and work with the person that I am afraid of. It's good; not only will I learn more, I will also make more friends.

  2. Practice losing and failing.
    I believe that I am good at a lot of things, but that may be because a lot of the people around me aren't interested in what I'm interested in in some cases. I'm used to success, to winning, to doing well; I don't know how to deal very well with losing and having no excuse. Thus, I should expose myself to more talented people; go to national competitions and lose, go to statewide events and fail, apply to things I probably won't get into. This is a way to meet people that I can learn from and get myself far outside my comfort zone.

  3. Take some time to think about myself and work on egotisticality (?)
    I think one major thing that I can do to help myself is to take some time to reflect on my behavior, thoughts, and feelings. I won't improve very quickly (that mentality, again - wanting to be good at everything, and I guess not having a fragile ego is one of them) if I don't check in on myself, nor will I be able to seriously understand myself without reflection.

Thanks for reading through my self-therapy session. I usually think as I write, so while it might seem like I instantly had the answers, it took a lot of thought.


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