What’s your criteria for picking new friends? You surely choose just the cleverest cookies, most beautiful girls and fittest boys, right? You disagree? Well, sure, simply because it doesn’t work that way.
Then why do we judge ourselves such a lot? My hair looks like a mess; gosh, I ate waaaay too much, I didn’t get an A on the test – I’m a failure. Really? Why am I so hard on myself? I always expect myself to be flawless, look fine, be interesting – and then fail to live up to my expectations. No surprise, though, if they are too high.
Just today I talked to my soon-to-be therapist about how I wasn’t able to accept myself for what I am. And she asked me why I couldn’t ever be content with my achievements. Sure, I finished school with a grade good enough to be accepted to university. My grades are okay now, too. Yet still, I’m not happy because I don’t see these things as achievements. There are many others who do better, study harder, are more talented. But how does comparing myself to them help? It doesn’t suddenly make me smarter or wiser.
And grieving grades I got back in school doesn’t help because I can’t change them anymore now. What I should see is that I got good enough grades though ED’s grip on my brain made studying hard. That there were still others who didn’t pass the Abitur (final tests in secondary school qualifying for university entrance). Yet – from what I can tell (thanks for keeping me updated, Facebook!) – they do fine. They have fun in their jobs or passed the Abitur in the second trial and simply are enjoying life. It doesn’t feel right to take pride from the fact others did “worse” – it doesn’t even feel right to use this word! – than me. My therapist stressed, though, that it was good to be able to do downward comparison.
As for my friends: Actually thinking about them made me realize that the majority doesn’t have any extraordinary hobbies. And even those who are seriously talented in certain areas don’t make a big deal about it. One of the friends I can talk to about everything and who understands me truly well had such a hard time at school. She constantly felt stupid for this while she was studying much harder than others. So what? To me, it didn’t matter. I like her for her personality not her grades.
Most of my friends are – and I mean this in the most positive way! – average yet to me truly special. I wouldn’t want to change anything about and aspire to be like them. If I had to name criteria for choosing my friends it’d be these: That I’m able to trust them. To joke around with them and laugh hard. To have a good time with them. Because that’s what counts.
How judgemental are you about yourself? Do you only compare yourself to those who are better than you or do you also see those who aren’t? If you learned to let loose: How did you manage to do so? Advice would be greatly appreciated! For now, I’m going to try and write down at least one thing I like about myself or think I did well every day. It’s baby steps …