Life Is a Competition for Everyone — Here’s Why

If you’ve ever taken time out of your busy day to think about the expectations that you’ve set for yourself or the goals that you want to reach, then without knowing, you’ve subconsciously thought about what you have to do to be better than others around you. Thinking about a personal goal can be different because personal goals can be things like breaking an addictive behavior or habit, but if it’s compared to expectations that you’ve heard or seen others set, then it’s a comparison.

We now live in a world of criticism and high standards for just about anything — whether that be looks, grades, finances, physical capability or expertise in certain fields — our levels of ability in anything are competitions.

The unfortunate part about this phenomenon is that it’s difficult to enjoy anything for ourselves without also comparing it to someone else’s enjoyment or happiness. Scrolling through social media is a big indicator of this problem, as users compare themselves to what can appear as luxurious living off of someone else’s account. Another example is looking at friends or people around us in a common environment, like a college campus, and comparing ourselves to their attractive appearances; not always as a whole, but to the aspects that we criticize ourselves for.

Having a perfect college GPA is hard to obtain, but it’s a common goal that lots of college students have. The problem is that grades can still be a form of competition and can create tension between students, even such a competitive nature that it can be difficult to be acquainted with people.

Having perfect or clear skin has never been something that an ordinary person can have, but it’s a driven norm in society to want it. No matter how hard I try personally, I’ve never been able to obtain that clear and minimally pored skin that makeup doesn’t slide off of or cake into.

Little things like being a certain height or weight are even a problem because, with women, it makes us feel insecure since we see men around us going after the girls that are drastically shorter, taller, thinner or thicker than we are.

As a college student who lives with one roommate, works two jobs and goes to college full time, I still find myself comparing my situation and debilitating mental health to someone who has it worse than I do. Because of this, I have days that make it hard for me to want to leave my bed and do anything with myself. Or the opposite can happen — feeling like I have it off worse than others and that I can’t even begin to listen to people complain around me because they have no idea how much worse it is for others than themselves.

The key thing to remember is that no situation is ever the same. Wanting something and going after it is human nature, not competition. Everything is competition economically, physically and mentally, but doesn’t have to be personally. One person might say they’re having a rough time and actually be suffering, and another might say they’re okay but be experiencing the same amount of stress or discomfort as the other.

Life is an indefinable condition and should be appreciated for what it is. It shouldn’t be a world full of toxicity and constant comparisons of circumstance or “who has it worse” and who shouldn’t be complaining. Life is a gift and doesn’t last as long as anyone would like for it to be. Life is temporary; therefore, it should be taken much more seriously than someone being better than yourself.

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