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Mental Health

“Connections, Not Competition” – The Issue with Comparison Culture

I thought I’d discuss about comparison culture, an issue that many people face in school and in the workforce. This is for those who always compare themselves to others when it comes to wanting to be good enough for the real world. Everyone struggles with comparison. Being surrounded by other talented students can be intimidating sometimes. To the people that you know personally, such as family and friends, you’re crazy talented and they expect highly of you and want you to achieve great things. Because of that, you feel like you are worthy of what you’re capable of doing. However, when you face other artists who are twice as talented as you are, you feel like they are “The Competition.” It’s easy to fall into comparison with them and we easily get threatened by their success. They are not really competition. They’re just like you: regular people who want to achieve big things and become successful.

Competitiveness is bad enough as it is in college. Everyone wants to compete against each other or do what it takes to become the best. By differentiating themselves from everyone else, they want to be competitive candidates for internships and jobs. The same thing happens on social media, where people can easily compare their lifestyles to other people’s lifestyles. Social media is full of people documenting their daily lives, giving others to desire to portray themselves in a flattering light, only to end up getting into comparison culture. Everyone has the belief that everyone’s lives are so amazing just because of what they see online. Holding the belief that everyone else’s lives are more interesting, exciting, or successful than yours can lead to feelings of self-doubt.

Every single day, we’re surrounded by so many people with similar goals as ours. I bet that out of all of them at least one person can hold down a job, earn perfect grades, hold a leadership position and STILL maintain a social life at the same time. It’s not impossible but it seems highly unlikely too. We wish we can do that, though. We wish we were that person who has their life figured out. Comparing yourself to these types of “high achieving” people when you are struggling in any of these areas can be discouraging. However, these people are probably struggling in some areas themselves, we just don’t see it. But they eventually manage to get back on their feet.

Constantly comparing yourself to others can be exhausting and it can be harmful to your mental health and self-esteem. You do not have to try to follow someone else’s path. One whose value and measurement of success is defined by solely yourself. Because your life is yours and only you have control of it, your growth should not be compared to other people’s growth. You have an entire lifetime to accomplish what you want.

Instead of worrying about other people achieving higher than you and wanting to be like them or be better than them, you should try to work with them. Reach out to these people and collaborate with each other. Professors in college are always reminding and encouraging us to reach out to other students of the same field or even students of other majors. Any collaboration can lead to something big in the long run. It’s time to stop looking down on others because of their success and start reaching out to them for help or an offer to work together.

Naya West is an actor, singer, dancer, and content creator from Augusta, GA. She graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design. where she majored in Performing Arts and earned her B.F.A in Entertainment Arts. Naya also has her own personal blog, called Just Being Me, where she talks about her many life experiences and gives advice to others. Her hobbies and interests include cooking/baking, watching anime, reading, and making videos for her YouTube channel.
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