Lately I have felt frustrated trying to decide what I want to be doing with my life. Yet, the question I keep circling back to is: Why do I feel so rushed to figure “everything” out??
Humans are innately programmed to fulfill desires and we notoriously compare our accomplishments to others. I know that personally I have experienced measurable growth over the past year and comparison makes my successes feel insignificant. Many of my friends just completed their sophomore years learning at universities while I spent the year learning in my own way through experiences. To say that one of these paths is unequivocally better than the other isn’t helpful to anyone.
For me, learning to travel on my own, learning what it means to be in a loving relationship, and learning about children’s literature and illustration has been important to my personal growth. I am moving at the pace that’s right for me and even if that means feeling confused or stagnant on occasion, eventually everyone will end up at a similar destination.
In considering my feelings this week I wanted to include abridged versions full of wisdom from previous blog posts in which I’ve explored topics including decision making, identity, and comparison.
It’s easy to get caught in your own spiral of emotions. But that’s all it is. Emotions. Take control of your surroundings and your sense of self. Separate the boundaries between your existence and the rest of the world around you and remember that you’re just a small piece of the universe. I think that by making a conscious effort to live presently we have a restored capacity to reach clarity. Conflicts arise from a subconscious desire to try and either understand the past or to try and theorize about the future. Allowing yourself to accept the now as your only reality is how to be present.
“We treat desire as a problem to be solved, address what desire is for and focus on something and how to acquire it rather than on the nature and the sensation of desire, though often it is the distance between us and the object of desire that fills the space in between with the blue of longing” ((Rebecca Solnit)).
In the excerpt above from “The Blue of Distance” by Rebecca Solnit she explains how we treat our wants as problems. The prospect of fulfilling some aspect of our life overpowers the nature of the desire itself. Meaning, simply, we focus on the future rather than the present. Thinking about our futures helps to propel us towards them, but it fills the space in between “now” and “then” with a sense of longing. It’s a void.
We always continue to want more. So rather than treating desire as something to solve and acquire we must first address what we already have and what we have the power to achieve each day. Thinking long term is quite limited. You have to trust your own process even if you don’t have the slightest clue where you’re headed. You have to be open to the unknown: possibilities, opportunities, experiences, people. You have to leave room for yourself: to grow and change and adapt your course of action frequently.
“When you’re busy creating your own fulfillment, you won’t feel the need to seek it from others." - Rachel Wolchin
In my ‘Badass Women’ series, I almost always ask the girls I interview how they start their days. I hear pretty consistently that the first thing people of this generation do as they open their eyes is check their phones; scrolling through Instagram and consuming images.
Social media can be great, but it can also be a catalyst for comparison. Comparing yourself to others isn’t a healthy way to start your day. Consuming images isn’t always nourishing to our bodies, and it certainly is not part of a balanced diet. Cutting down on electronics cleanses your soul of comparison.
We look around and see this digital world of perfection. Everyone is showing the good. And while I think it's better to radiate positivity and I think that rubs off on people; honesty is important too. It is rare to find accounts that show the reality of someone’s day. Our feeds act more like a highlight reel, and while that is self-evident, it is SO incredibly easy to forget that EVERYONE else is also only sharing their best moments, and the low points HAPPEN FOR EVERYONE; they just go unseen.
By using social media less, you train yourself to become less reliant on acting based on comparison. By forcing someone else’s experience onto your own you are compositing, and authenticity is blurred by a transparent layer of replication. Comparison is the root of the issue. We invent a better, edited, and filtered world that doesn’t exist.
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