Feeling behind is something I commonly feel. With social media, especially LinkedIn, I often feel as though I am not doing enough. Seeing peers consistently getting new jobs, promotions and high distinctions makes me feel like I should be doing all those things all at the same time. I feel like I have not accomplished enough for my age and that I should have been more productive with my time. The setbacks I have faced feel like they were my fault, they were preventable and that I should have been able to predict them. I digress, as there are a plethora of reasons as to why one can feel as though they are not doing enough, and the highlight reel that is social media is a big contributor. However, it is important to recognize that you are doing enough and that these successes do not happen overnight.
The time I spent at a particularly competitive high school didn’t help with this feeling of being under accomplished. By the age of 18, I already had my films shown internationally, and I had won silver medals in at least three competitions, yet I felt like I was underachieving. It was good that I was being pushed to be productive, but when life catches up with you and you fall behind, it can take a toll. Going into university with this mindset, I felt as though I needed to maintain a 4.0 GPA and a varied extracurricular list, all while attempting to maintain a lively social life. None of these things are unrealistic, but they cannot be accomplished all at once and in the blink of an eye. Having that mindset, when one of these things is not accomplished, it’s easy to feel like you are falling behind. Everyone else around you is accomplishing all of this, so why can’t you?
The truth is that no one is accomplishing all of this. People don’t post the sleepless nights, the people supporting them and the times they spent working as opposed to going out. We glamourize work but we do not recognize work as something that is done. We have turned working into an aesthetic rather than something we have to do. Work is not aesthetically pleasing all of the time. There are sleepless nights, times you fail and times you can’t go out with friends, but people only talk about how things work out. They talk about their successes, never how they got there or their temporary setbacks. People have support, and it is because of this support that they can accomplish so much. This support could be having someone that takes care of household responsibilities, monetary needs or even a team of stylists so they can look good. It is important to recognize this and cut yourself some slack when it comes to accomplishing all your goals. Things take time, and you cannot do everything all at once with no support from other people.
This is not to say that people’s accomplishments are fake or unwarranted, but merely that we do not see the realities of what it takes to be so accomplished. We need to learn to cut ourselves some slack, to take a break and, more importantly, to recognize what we have accomplished rather than focusing on what others have.