The wrong path

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One thing I have always struggled with in my adult life is where I am in my life. In an age of social media and posting the highlights of our lives to share with each other as well as the rest of the world, I found myself constantly comparing.

I’m sure I’m not the only one, we all do it. We stare at photos of attractive strangers on Instagram, and watch the travel vlogs of people who don’t even know we exist wishing we had what they had. Well at least I do.

The problem with this is I begin to see faults in my own life. I begin to think there is something wrong with where I am in my own life.

You see, society sets up this path of how life should look if we are successful, if we are doing things the “right” way.

I’ve spent A LOT of time wondering what the “right” way meant.

I did not grow up with both parents. Is that wrong?

I didn’t have a loving relationship with the relatives I did grow up with. Is that also wrong?

I didn’t finish college, get married and then have a child. Instead I went to college, got dumped, started dating, struggled with depression, failed classes, went to work to pay for school, got married, traveled abroad, had a kid and returned to finish.

Is that wrong?

That is a question I’ve asked myself for a while now. It’s interesting to me that society has placed this idea of what our lives should look like and expect all of us, no matter how different, to fit that mold.

I find myself discontent and feeling judged constantly because I’m not at the place in my life others expect me to be, I’m not at the place people say you SHOULD be at 23.

I’ll admit sometimes others aren’t great at helping me feel like my life is fine, in fact just the opposite. Others seem to feed into the idea that we should all follow this specific path if we must become successful, and if you aren’t you’re basically just catching up.

One thing I’ve had to sit down and tell myself is that my life is my own.

This is the most important thing I’ve ever learned about my life. It is unique to me. My experiences are my own and no one else’s. Every single choice I’ve made has shaped me into the woman I am today, good or bad.

The issue comes when I and others choose to compare lives. We feel like we all have to measure up to this made up standard of what a good life is. We fail to realize a good life could look like many things. Living a successful life is relative, its all about the perspective of the one living that life.

I’m writing this mostly for myself, to remind myself that my life may not look as picture perfect as those around me, but it is my own. I am doing what is best for me and my family, and that is beautiful.

 

 

 

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6 thoughts on “The wrong path

  1. Dear Raneisha: I am so proud of where you are compared to where you have come from. You are a strong and hard working young woman that has a lot to live for. You are very near a lot of people that can help you shape and create a future that is best for you and your family… and that glorifies God. If you put GOD in the center of all your plans HE will guide you through the decisions of each day!

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  2. You’re definitely right. I think that humans have a natural tendency to compare our lives to those of others to measure our success. The rate at which we use social media is probably positively correlated with the rate at which many of feel like we don’t “measure up”. However, we have to remember three things:

    1. We all develop at different paces.
    2. What is good for one person may not be good for another.
    3. People curate content for social media. You rarely see the full view of what someone’s life is like – you only see the bits and pieces they are willing to share. And most people are careful about sharing only the shiny pieces – not the rusty, jagged, or even broken pieces. So when you compare your life to theirs, you are comparing your life to a story that might very well be at least partly fictional i nature.

    It is good that you are recognizing this now, while you are still pretty young. That way you don’t spend the majority of life seeking success that doesn’t even mesh with who you are or feeling wholly unsuccessful even when you have a lot going for yourself that would normally make you happy.

    As they say “comparison is the thief of joy”

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