I don’t know if any of you have read the ‘Girl Online’ series by Zoe Sugg? Well, I have, twice actually, and although at times they are a bit cringe and predictable, I did enjoy reading the blog parts of each books, because they talked about some really important things that definitely need to be addressed. This is where I got the idea for my post today – Someone else’s success is not your failure.
Now this is a pretty drastic thing; anything that includes the word ‘failure’ or ‘fail’ is, in my opinion, a really heavy subject. But just because a subject might be heavy or uncomfortable, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t openly discuss it. Everyone in the entire world is going to take away something different from this statement, because everyone has different life experiences which have led them to reading this today.
For me, this concept of myself feeling like a failure started when I was about 10. I have a brother who is only a year older than me, so we did everything together, including going to the same school. Being the older kid, he seemed to get all the attention, all the good marks and all the recognition for his achievements. He got school captain, got a big award at the end of the year and was one of the captains in the school’s boys soccer team. I, on the other hand, did not get captain (but one of the lower positions), ended up only getting a certificate for perseverance in my studies, and was a ‘benchwarmer’ of the B team in softball at my school.
Then in high school, my brother and I went to separate schools so we were no longer ‘competing’ in the same sphere, so to speak. Instead at my school, I found that I was comparing myself to all the other people in my grade, wondering why now, after all these years, am I still only average, when my friends are doing so well and are achieving recognition and awards in everything that I think I tried harder in? In Year 12, there was the big award ceremony for all graduating students to recognise the achievements of each student in sporting and academics. I participated in everything at my school, I even did advanced classes, and I studied so much I didn’t have much of a social life. So when it came around to announcing the awards I was so eager to find out what award I would get, only to realise by the end of the day that I didn’t receive a single award. I was devastated. And to add to that disappointment, was when I realised every single one of my friends got an award, but I didn’t. It took me ages to get over the disappointment I felt in myself for not achieving what my friends seemingly achieved so easily.
It took me 19 years to figure out that despite all the disappointment and jealousy I felt over the years, someone else’s success was REALLY not my failure at all. I realised that my friends clearly did work super hard for what they achieved, which just drove me to work harder too. And when I compared my sporting achievements to my brother, that was crazy considering, it was two different sports, and two different year groups. I can see now with clear eyes that there was really no need to feel all that disappointment in myself for things that were out of my control.
The worst part is, that when that green-eyed monster appears, it can cause you to resent being friends with such successful people, and being related to people who seem to get everything they’ve ever wanted, especially when you both did the same thing but they came out on top. What needs to be mentioned is, something that I realised last year actually, we are all different and it is no that person’s fault that they got the award and you didn’t, it’s no one’s fault. It is just something that happens and is beyond our control, but it does not mean that it is the fault of our friend; they didn’t wake up one morning and think I am going to do really well in this test to make Soph feel bad, that’s just not how the world works. I always want what is best for the people in my life, I want them to know that I am there for them and am so proud of them for their achievements because they deserve all the happiness in the world, and the sooner everyone realises this, the better the world will be – no one needs the sort of negativity that arises from jealousy, it makes for an ugly world and we don’t need that.
No matter where you are in life, there will always be someone who is more successful than you, but that goes both ways. I might think that I want to be just like my friend who is an amazing runner, but maybe she is thinking, I wish I had the organisational and motivational skills that Soph has. You really never know, because everyone wants to succeed but it doesn’t mean we have to tear ourselves and others down in the process, just because we didn’t quite get what we were hoping for in that particular scenario.
I am not sure if you know this, but when you are in a running race, you should never look back or sideways to see if there are any people near you. It only slows you down and causes you to lose momentum. By becoming side-tracked, looking around at the people around you, seeing how they are going with their lives, can cause you to lose focus on what you are working so hard to achieve. If you start focusing too much on others, you will forget who you are and why you are here in the first place. Because at the end of the day, what happened 10 years ago at a silly primary school presentation day has no impact whatsoever on the life I am living today.
I really enjoyed writing this post, it has definitely been something that I have been thinking a lot recently, so I hope you enjoyed today’s post. Do any of you have an example like mine? What do you think about the concept ‘someone else’s success is not your failure’? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading!
Stay safe and keep connected,