“I don’t compare myself to anyone else; I don’t make comments about anyone else because they do what feels right for them, and that’s okay by me.” – Taylor Swift
One thing I’ve learned as I was growing up is to never compare myself to other people. You may have grown up from the same neighborhood, graduated from the same University with the same Bachelor’s degree or even have the same interests in life but still, you have far more differences than similarities.
Back in college, I was really competitive. May pagkakataon pa nga na naging grade conscious ako. I always tried my best to be number one. I always wanted to have the highest scores during quizzes, examinations, projects, etc. because for me, I am the best. I was really ambitious. Maliban sa academics, I aimed high with regards to my extra – curricular activities. Gusto kong lagi akong officer ng organization namin. Pati nga student council ay tinarget ko. Naghohost pa nga ako ng events dati. And I tend to compare my achievements to the achievements of others. That I cannot deny.
I guess my competitiveness was triggered by people’s expectations. People expect highly of me because of my background. My parents always wanted me to get high grades because for them, it translates to better opportunities. For them, it will lead me to a better future. Normal naman yun para sa mga magulang natin. Gusto nila ang mga bagay na makakabuti sa atin. Plus, growing up with parents like that, hindi maiiwasan na sila mismo ang mahilig magcompare. They compare you to your siblings, cousins or even your friends. So naadopt mo na din yung habit nila.
Another thing that fueled the fire for me to be better is my block mates. They always think highly of me na hindi ko din maintindihan kung bakit. Kapag medyo mababa ang grades na nakuha ko, kung ano – anong tanong agad ang nagmumula sa kanila. “Bakit mas mataas ang grade ni bestfriend mo kesa sa’yo?”
Kinalaunan din, parang tinamad na din akong maging grade conscious. Nakakasawa din kasing puro competition ang nasa isip ko. Lalo na kung yung mga taong nasa paligid mo ganun din ang nasa isip. Yung lagi ka pa nilang kinocompare sa barkada mong napakagaling din. Para kayong pinagsasabong eh kung sa totoo lang, tanggap ko naman na mas magaling siya sa akin.
Then, I graduated from college. I was lost. I don’t know where I want to go to or what I want to do with my life. Tapos nakikita mo sa social media yung mga friends mo posting about how happy they are with their new job, how tired they are because of their workload, how happy they are with their new friends or how thankful they are now that they’re helping their family. Nainggit ako noon kasi I wasn’t sure if this was the right field for me. Ikukumpara mo pa kung ano nang narating nila sa narating mo.
Time passed and I got employed. I took a very good opportunity at thankful ako dun. At doon nagbago ang pananaw ko sa buhay.
While employed as a teacher, doon ko narealize na opportunities and success are not guaranteed if you got high grades during college or kung anong mga organizations and competitions ang nasalihan mo. Factor din yun pero it’s not always a guarantee. From the stories shared by my peers, they did struggle din pala nung nagsisimula pa lang sila. Hindi sila nakaranas ng instant success. They worked hard for it. They told me na may mga opportunity na darating sa’yo, and if you’re brave enough, you should take it kahit medyo risky. At hinding – hindi ko din malilimutan yung sinabi nila na “you should never compare your chapter 1 to somebody else’s chapter 20.”
Then I thought to myself, oo nga ano? I have a habit of comparing myself to others not realizing we’re travelling at different paces. Hindi din lang naman sa speed nagkakaiba, minsan sa path pa nga na nilalakaran at sa patutunguhan.
Since then, I stopped comparing myself to other people. We’re not in the same chapter in this book called life. We don’t know the story kung bakit andun sila ngayon or the decisions na ginawa nila para makarating sa kung nasaan sila ngayon. Comparing yourself to others is also harmful to your self – esteem. You’re not doing yourself any favor. Ngayon, kapag nagkekwentuhan kami ng mga friend ko about their life and other people’s, I don’t comment anymore especially if I don’t know the backstory.
Stop comparing yourself to other people. Just focus on your life. Kahit gaano man kabagal ang progress mo, ang importante eh may progress ka. Ang mahalaga is you move forward. Magiging successful ka din basta magtiyaga ka. Just look at the founder of KFC, Col. Sanders, na kahit puro rejections sa buhay ang dumating ay nagsikap pa rin. Ngayon, kilala na worldwide ang brand niya.
Your life is yours. You don’t have to explain it to others.
And to Taylor Swift, thank you for that important advice.