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How to Stop Comparing Your Life Path to Others

Growing up, my friends and family always called me “Planny Annie” because I’m notorious for planning ahead and staying on track with my schedule. But, unfortunately, I can’t plan out my entire life, and it’s nearly impossible to know where I’ll end up. One of the hardest things for me is that I always compare my life path to others.

I’ve never had that “dream job," while some of my best friends have known their entire life path since kindergarten. I can't express how many times my friends and I have chatted about how behind we feel in life. We always compare ourselves to people our age who are so-called “ahead of us," whether they have a dream job, an internship, or a relationship. Below, I’ve written out my top three pieces of advice for how to stop comparing your life path to others.

Change your mindset to feel happy for others

Rather than feeling jealous of your friends and peers, try your best to celebrate them for their achievements and goals. Just because someone seems to have everything together, it doesn’t mean that that’s truly the case. The grass is seriously always greener on the other side, and I can assure you that not everything is always as it appears in someone’s life.

Also, although someone’s life path might be perfect for themselves, it could be the completely wrong path for you. Change your mindset and cheer your friends on! Everyone’s life is different, and know that you’ll figure everything out yourself little by little, one step at a time!

Work on things that you can accomplish NOW!

It's extremely beneficial to focus on the present moment and see what you can do today to make changes for your future. Take all of the opportunities that you can grasp, such as extracurricular activities, clubs, sports, volunteer work, part-time jobs, or internships. Even if you dislike the internship, you’re still learning and gaining valuable experience. No matter what, you’ll be able to learn about what you either love or hate.

One thing I’ve found particularly helpful is to keep a running list of things that I enjoy doing and am good at. This way, I’ll focus on my strengths and can think about what might be a best fit for my future.

Practice gratitude for yourself

It’s SO important to take some time to appreciate yourself. One way that you can do this is by writing down a list of positive things in your life. It can be as simple as “it’s sunny outside” or as complex as “I love the kindness that I show to others.”

Generating a positive list daily will help you to feel more grateful and relaxed. Another way to practice gratitude, especially in relation to your life path, is to write down statements about what you believe will happen to you one day. An example of this is by saying, “One day, I’ll have a satisfying and interesting job.”

Everyone has their own timeline, and know that it’s completely okay to take things at your own pace! You’re going to find the perfect job, the perfect living situation, and the perfect relationship, but just know that this can all happen at different times for everyone. Take a deep breath, and for now, just try to enjoy the moment! 

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Annie Clarke

U Mass Amherst '23

Hi I'm Annie! I'm a junior at UMass Amherst studying Sociology and pursuing a minor in Education. I'm extremely passionate about helping others, and in my free time I love to take walks, workout, spend time outside, and hangout with family and friends.
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