Feeling stupid, feeling small. Saturday February 24, 2018
I feel thick. Looking at it rationally I'm not. I have the degree that proves it to pretty much everyone except me.
So why do I feel stupid? Because the people I know are even more academic than I am. My best friend is better at both maths (our degree subject) and music (favourite hobby) than I am. My husband got the top first in our year (different subject to me thankfully) then became an academic and changed direction in his 40's to have a high flying career. The best man at our wedding got a double first. Lots of my friends are academics - at impressive places like Harvard Business School.
I work with lots of bright people. I don't think I've got as far as might be expected in my job – although perhaps it's not bad by the standards of bipolar part-time working mothers. There are times when I come home to hear my husband enthusing about all the splendid things he has done in his day and I compare them with the very average things I have struggled to achieve in my day. It makes me feel pretty inadequate, daunted and depressed. It wouldn't be fair of me to expect him to change and stop enthusing because he has always been exuberant and I love that. And I want his work to go well - but it's still hard sometimes.
People say 'Don't compare your inside with other people's outsides' but I don't think that's what is going on here. My husband certainly isn't putting on a front. So if I'm not misunderstanding the people I compare myself to, why do I end up feeling stupid when I'm not? I think my issue is that I have chosen a very small pool of very academic people to compare myself to. Not everyone who started out in my line of work passed the professional exams so why am I only comparing myself to those who did? Not all my friends went to university with me. They certainly didn't all stay on and do postgraduate degrees with my husband or become academics. If I include the friends I've made through my daughter's school, through church, or through stays in hospital there's a much wider variety of people and I can see myself a bit more realistically.
I've read and I believe that the best thing for my mental health would be just to accept myself for who I am and stop measuring myself against others. But I haven't got there yet. Surely starting with a wider group of people to compare against so that I get a more realistic picture of myself is progress of a sort.
Do you find yourself comparing yourself to others? Is it helpful or unhelpful?
Do you only compare yourself to certain people?
Can you give me any tips to stop comparing myself?
A moodscope member.
Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.