my comparison complex
Have you ever looked around you at your "friends", family members or celebrities and felt like you were being left behind? As if they were all achieving so many goals that you start to wonder: "Hey, when is it going to be my turn? Or better yet, will this ever happen to me too?"
I suffered through this complex for a better part of my junior and senior year of high school when I realized a lot of my friends got into Ivy League schools all the way in the US, or that they were taking a gap year to work. It seemed as if everyone was finally going to experience their college dreams abroad while I was in Tanzania, with barely having anything figured out.
I had fear and anxiety growing inside me every day because of this. Maybe it was because I was so used to having things planned out for me instead.
I had, and if I am being honest, still have these overwhelming thoughts that I’m probably going to just be another extra or another background character to all of my friends' stories. All of this stemmed just from seeing a few of my friends already looking successful. Some had become small but growing influencers on social media, another had started a YouTube channel, and the girl I sat next to in class had started an online business that is taking off. As proud as I am of them, I just couldn’t help but feed the hungry thought that maybe I'd never be as impressive as they were.
Like where was my shining moment? When will it happen to me? This ate me up to the point where even posting something on Instagram became hard for me and I always hit the discard button. That annoying and degrading voice in my head would taunt me and remind me of how anything I do would ever be good enough. There were so many people out there with better content than me, so why even try?
Fast forward to a few months later, I finally understood that I had a comparison complex. I constantly used to compare every single detail about my social life with people I idolized even my closest friends. I understand they would never rub it in my face to taunt me but the insecurity that I was being left behind became an obsession.
So what I did was that I decided to spend less time on the apps that I believed just added salt to the wound such as Instagram. I went from spending half my day on there to just mainly opening it at night. With Snapchat, I stopped doing streaks which ultimately led to me rarely opening it to check out peoples' stories. This small action helped immensely in building my self confidence.
If I wasn’t seeing the things that triggered me negatively, like a classmate posting their new college jersey, I wouldn't compare myself to them as much. I also reduced talking to some of the friends that brought out these insecurities in me. Not out of hate or envy, but I needed to focus more myself. To build the person I wanted to turn into rather than compare my current state to the picture of my best friend in Australia.
Just to be clear, I celebrate my friends' accomplishments but putting distance between them and me was my way of learning how to celebrate myself instead.
Now I know that a comparison complex can be triggered by other things, which might not necessarily be the need to be successful like mine was; but here’s a few tips I hope will help you through this phase the same way they helped me:
Now I want to end with this quote; “ You’re so busy doubting yourself, while others are intimidated by your potential”. This quote reminded me daily that the way I was thinking about how all my classmates were moving forward was the same way that some of them might view me. Someone could be looking up to you and you wouldn’t even know it! I hope this helped you. I want you to know that It will get better. It will take time but it will. Try channelling that obsession with comparing yourself with others to comparing yourself with who you were yesterday and who you want to be tomorrow.
Fighting could be over anything; a meet up gone wrong to losing something valuable. Sometimes it could be about feeling neglected by the other, or feeling misunderstood. Whatever the reason, fights happen. As toxic as it may sound, disagreements are inevitable. It's because we all constantly grow mentally and sometimes you don't always have to agree with what the other person does because it doesn't align with who you are anymore.
Fights tend to end up with someone leaving with their feelings hurt, regretful of what they may or may not have said, and sometimes and as much as we dont want to admit it; fights might bring an end to a friendship you thought would last forever...that's what hurts the most.
A fight recently happened between me and a close friend of mine. We had a fight about something I had said, which to be honest it was an insensitive comment on religion, I later realized and the aftermath of that comment resulted in her cutting me off, completely, and I felt terrible. Especially when it wouldn’t matter what i’d try to say to her, she just wouldn't respond to me, and some of the things she said made me feel like complete rubbish, this went on for days.
Overthinking about how I should have directed the conversation so it wouldn’t turn out the way it did, to regret over what i said, then eventually the anger set in; she could cut me off that easily? Like our friendship was really that disposable to her?
It wasn't until days later when I asked her about it that I found out it wasn’t even the real problem. She was mad and cut me off because she felt like I was making fun of her over something she was explaining to me before and my religious comment was kind of the tip of the iceberg for her, which was why it made her cut me off in the first place.
Point is, I would have never even known she felt that way if I didn’t tell her how she made me feel. And even though we made up now, there's things I wish I did that could have helped avoid the swarm of emotions the aftermath of that fight had on me, and I made a few suggestions on what to do after having a fight with someone you care about, both for you and for the other person.
For me I thought I was angry at my friend for just cutting me off and making me feel irritated at the fact that if i said something to try and solve it, she wouldn't listen to me. But as the days went on with us not talking, I realised that I was more angry at the thought that she could get rid of me that easily and the thought that maybe she didn't value this friendship the same way I did.
And with a lot more thinking, I realised that I felt this way because of an insecurity I have. Well, we all have insecurities, fact, but for me it’s more to do with the thought that I wasn’t good enough of a person to be around, that I wasn’t as interesting as other people were.
Also, even after doing all of this, it's good to keep in mind that, as sad as it may be, not all friendships last forever. A lot of the time people outgrow each other, you both stopped liking the same things and maybe the other person doesn’t align with who you're becoming anymore ( hopefully for the better)/ So I would say don’t beat yourself up about it, it hurts but maybe it's for the better. Theres alot of toxic people out there, and if this fight showed who you were dealing with the whole time.
Think of it this way, the friendship you just lost shows you the kind of people you might not want in your life in the future. Whatever happens remember to be kind to yourself; even if you're in the wrong or right. Cause your friend(s) might leave, but you’ll always have you.
covid-19 vs my friendships
COVID-19 has affected everyone in many different ways and has essentially changed all of our lives. Throughout this time, I learned a lot about my friends and our relationships. I became extremely close with some friends, lost and drifted from some friends, and also learned how toxic some people were.
In school, I had a close group of friends, which included me and three other girls, but I also had an extended group of friends which probably ranged between 15 and 20 people, as well as others. During school, I was with these people every day and it was really easy to communicate and stay in touch. However, this changed when we went into lockdown in March of 2020. I felt extremely isolated and was not able to see anyone for two months. I kept in touch with my close group of friends and a couple of other friends during COVID, however, I also drifted with many of my friends. I realized who my true friends were. Furthermore, I became aware of the effort I was putting into many relationships that weren't being reciprocated. Through this time I was able to realize how much effort friendships really took, and I also realized how valuable my closest friends are.
Unfortunately, I did have some toxic friends through this time that were not treating me or some of my other friends right. Toxic people, in general, are tricky to deal with, but my advice for them is to talk to them, tell them how you feel, and what you feel they could do to make you feel better and more comfortable. Then, give them a chance to change, but if you realize they continue to be toxic, cut your losses. There is no need for anyone to be involved with people who bring you down or treat you badly. You deserve the best!