(Photographer: Chanelle Sanjit)
For the most part of your life, everyone will be telling you how to do things in order to lead a successful life. The worst thing you can do to yourself is practicing the belief that everyone’s recipe for success is the same. There are similarities, yes, but not exactly the same.
Let me tell you a story.
A while ago, one of my closest friends and I had a heart to heart. I had recently accomplished a certain goal I planned to achieve and though she was happy for me, she admitted that she felt a pang of jealousy. She felt that she was behind in life and I sensed a feeling of fear in her voice. I was not upset or taken aback. Neither did I think she was a horrible friend.
I did not feel offended because I had been in her shoes.
Before I became the woman I am today, I went through (and still go through) a few struggles. After high school, I had no idea what the hell I wanted to do with my life. I decided to start working full-time to gain some perspective in order to receive some sort of direction. I had hardly any work experience. Where I was working was nothing special. It was a retail beverage store and I wore a cap and an apron. As I started working, I would see people I knew and people who were my age living their best lives. They had all started studying, clubbing, buying the entire world and they seemed so carefree. Gradually I noticed how certain “friends” would see me and deliberately walk past me, not greeting because they didn’t want to be associated with someone who wasn’t following the social systematic way of living life after high school.
I had moved out the house during that year of working due to family reasons, mind you, I was earning a minimum salary. Retail sales life. I felt completely alone because even when I expressed how I felt about what I was going through, no one I knew could really be able to relate to my situation. Not my friends at work, not my then best friend and not even my family. I was driving myself insane, looking and comparing my life to other people’s lives. Should I have just studied any old degree? Should I just quit this lousy job and start over? It’s not too late is it? Maybe those “friends” won’t be so distant then? Maybe I won’t feel so lost if I do what everyone else is doing.
After some crying and self-acknowledgement, I stayed (for about a year) and stopped giving a shit about the norm. Since then, I have only elevated and I am extremely grateful. How I have achieved what I have today is all thanks to making that decision. “Screw it, do it your own way.” I give thanks to my time at that retail beverage store because I met three beautiful women who are some of my closest friends. That job humbled me in so many ways, but enough about me.
My point is, do not compare your life to the lives of others. It’s self-sabotaging and the only person you will blame at the end is yourself. You are phenomenally made and your success is depicted by what you choose to do with your life. Listen to your intuition. Pay attention to your strengths. Acknowledge your weaknesses. Improve your mental strength. Do not deny your feelings. The emotional intelligence you will gain will be irreplaceable and you’ll thank yourself for allowing yourself to feel everything. Breathe in and take comfort in the fact that your purpose will undoubtedly bring you success in whatever form you require.