The Only True Competition Is With Myself

I woke up this morning with the realization that I’ve been doing myself a great injustice and it’s been two-fold. The reason it took me so long to realize this is because I’ve been trying to deal with the fact that my plans got a little derailed and I am currently not in Seattle (but the move is not off). I’ve been having a lot of negative feelings, which I then feel guilty for and so goes the cycle.

On to my realizations.

I’ve been subconsciously waiting for approval/recognition for my personal accomplishments without giving myself the opportunity to feel proud.

A lot has changed in my life over the past few years and I’ve been taking a lot of steps forward even if I stumble a little bit. I haven’t taken huge leaps and bounds. I have a tendency to keep quiet and I highlight my failures more than my accomplishments at times. I also highlight my friends’ and colleagues’ accomplishments because I genuinely feel proud of them. This is probably why I woke up with the realization this morning that I’ve been waiting on some kind of arbitrary recognition of my small victories. Not because I’ve been boasting them but because although I give without expecting anything in return, sometimes it gets a little lonely.

I don’t think I’m doing a very good job of explaining this.

The fact is that I haven’t given myself an opportunity to stop and feel proud, even for a moment, because I don’t recognize my own accomplishments. They’re not major. Hell, I haven’t reached any of my major goals but the thing is, I don’t give up. Every day, I wake up and do a little bit to keep moving forward. The thing is, no one is here with me to see how hard it is for me to even get out of bed sometimes. Or even turn on the computer and stare at that blank screen while waiting for inspiration to hit. I don’t even really do the small talk with friends on GChat anymore, which used to be my way of being connected. I did something similar to this when I got fired. Because I feel like my life is in limbo and I have nothing new to provide to the world, I keep it all to myself.

Yet I still wait for some kind of recognition for how far I’ve come, even in the last year.

I think we all do this on some level, but some of us are better at getting over it than others.

Which brings me to my next realization.

I have been competing with everyone else in the world, but not just those who have accomplished more than me.

I have been comparing myself to other freelancers, solopreneurs, bloggers, entrepreneurs – you name it, I’ve compared myself to them. That’s natural, at least in my case, because I’m an overachiever. I feel like I have a lot of catching up to do but in the last couple of years, I have learned that it’s OK to slow down and I don’t have to have everything perfectly figured out.

On the flip side, I’ve been slowing myself too much and downplaying the moments I should feel proud because I didn’t want it to seem like I’m bragging. Because, you guys, despite all the bullshit, there have been great things happening in my life. My hard work has been paying off but is it fair of me to keep that to myself because I don’t want others to feel bad?

I’m not saying I’m going to brag, but I have been in competition with the entire world, when I should just be in competition with myself.

The only fair measurement of my success is against my own failures and how I’ve handled what life has thrown at me.

I have been spending so much time trying to mold my words to make everyone else happy that I’ve forgotten my voice.

At the end of the day, I’m left with my doubts and failures. I need to learn to put my accomplishments and dreams next to those, and remember that it’s my passion that’s brought me this far in my life.

So it’s time for me to slow down and block out all the noise.

It’s time for me to start being fair to myself, rediscover my passionate voice, and share it with the world (again).