“I’ve found a lot of people my age feel this urge to make life some sort of competition, whether or not they actually try to. Who can look the happiest on social media? Who can work the most hours? Who can get done the fastest? Who can be the best friend to people? Who can do the most? Who can out do the person next to them? I found this quote from David Ramsey that has just been RESONATING with me lately:
Let me just say, in my opinion, life is EXTREMELY valuable. Making things in life a competition just makes me angry. It gives me a lot of anxiety. You may not be trying to do this, but it happens. We have got to get down to the root reasoning of this and stop. I believe people do this because they feel bad about something in their own lives, or want to affirm to themselves they are something impactful in this world.
But, let me tell you guys. In the past, I have been a person who has gotten so wrapped up in my own life, I don’t even observe how I am treating other people. I had a HELL of a life to deal with when I was in grad school. MASSIVE anxiety. Sleeping barely 4-5 hours daily. Not being able to function at a regular job. Eating one meal per day, otherwise I’d get sick. Exercising twice a day. As a result, I withdrew from friends. I treated people poorly. I stopped talking to people who were the best thing for me. I lost a good 5-10 pounds in less than a month, in the most unhealthy way possible. I spent almost four months of my life denying I had any issues. Avoiding my issues through exercising WAY too much, and through controlling my eating in a terrible way. And do you know what I did? Instead of coming to grips with the fact my life is MY choice…
I PLAYED VICTIM.
I made these horrible decisions because I would tell myself I had no other way to get through. I thought I had to live this life. I thought I HAD to get through that semester the same way as everybody else in my cohort, otherwise I wouldn’t be as successful. I wouldn’t be as amazing of an SLP as they are. So, essentially, I victimized myself into a life I absolutely hated, because I thought I HAD to be like everybody else… instead of realizing I can make a change to live a better life.
Until, I had one individual push me to seek help. Pushed me endlessly, because she believed in me. Despite me being an absolute hag to everybody, she was there. Despite me continuously denying my life for a while, saying, ‘It’s okay. It’s temporary. I’ve just got to get through this semester, then I’ll be normal again. I HAVE to get through this.’ She calmly reminded me I was more than I was making myself out to be. I had ZERO realization my life was my choice. I just played a victim. I told myself ‘my life is just out to get me,’ even though I was making 100% of my life choices.
Guys. Life is a gift. The way you live it is a CHOICE. If you hate the situation you are in now, truly think about WHY you are in that situation. Do you HAVE to be? Or are you just making yourself a victim because you see no other way to deal? What are the outcomes? Who and what are you ‘sacrificing’ in your life in order to keep living some mediocre life you are not enjoying?
I had all of this crap happen to me within a span of a few months. I KNOW I had more anxiety than 99.9% of my cohort. I had more issues than the majority of the people in my cohort. That extra hoop to jump through. But does ANYBODY care what happened to me a few years ago? No. Did I get the job I have because I had more anxiety than the person next to me? Because I had that extra ‘hoop’ to hop through? Absolutely not. It was my ENTIRE mindset for a significant amount of time. I spent ALL of my energy being a victim. It didn’t get me anywhere. The changes in mentality I made for myself did.
Truth be told, if you REALLY have the mindset, you CAN balance your life. If you feel strongly about a person, or about your job, your family, a hobby… you CAN make time for it. You can do a lot of things, keep anybody you choose. You don’t have to ‘sacrifice’ a damn thing with balance. Instead of telling yourself you can’t, or even can, say you WILL. If you really want something, tell yourself you WILL get it. You WILL keep it. You WILL… Not, you CAN. Because you CAN do a lot of things. Instead of playing victim, saying you HAVE to live life a certain way, or you CAN do a certain thing, make affirmations.
I WILL be the best version of myself.
I WILL keep the good people in my life.
I WILL follow my heart.
I WILL get what I am working for.
I WILL take care of myself.
I’ve realized my quality of life has drastically improved since I stopped playing a victim. I stopped comparing myself to other people. I stopped feeling sorry for myself. I decided I WILL take action toward the things and people and locations and ANYTHING I want in life. I WILL try my best. I WILL not victimize myself. Because, in all honesty, if you victimize yourself, chances are, you don’t even realize how you are treating other people.
I’ve been both the victim, and somebody who is involved with a person who victimizes themselves. Now that I have gone through this process, I can see through people. In life, so many of us work our tail ends off to be the best versions of ourselves. We struggle. We conquer. But, we don’t do everything the same way. To you, maybe your life is harder than somebody else’s. Maybe you work harder, or you have more steps to climb than the person next to you to get to the same place. But, I’ve found people who victimize themselves don’t even realize they are belittling other people.
For instance, a friend may have had so many events in a day. They left the house at 7 a.m. and didn’t get home until 9 p.m. Or, maybe something very traumatic happened to them. A victim, instead of acknowledging somebody else had a busy day too, or had something major happen too, would try to compete. Try to ‘one up’ somebody. That would be the automatic response. To them, it’s because they need to acknowledge they are working hard as well. They need to justify to their self they are right there with other people. In reality, it’s just downgrading somebody else’s struggle. And victims don’t even see that.
I say this, because I used to be this person. I found myself trying so hard to compete with people, without even noticing I was doing it. Until people started treating me this way, I didn’t realize how much I was hurting other people. The thing is, you can compare yourself and ‘one up people,’ but NOBODY is going to care that you ‘did more than the person next to you’ if you aren’t a good individual at what you need to be good at. No job is going to take you over somebody else solely because you ‘had to go through more hoops.’ No person is going to choose you to be in a relationship with SOLELY because you ‘had more on your plate’ than another. So, why act that way?
Life isn’t meant to be a competition. Life isn’t meant to be spent belittling other people to feel better about ourselves… whether or not we even realize we do it. It’s not a ‘who can do more than the person next to us?’ Comparison is the thief of joy. Sure, somebody may have more steps to climb, or may have had more traumatic events happen than you. BUT, we shouldn’t feel bad about ourselves because of this. We shouldn’t play a victim because we’re ‘dealing with more than the average person.’ We have a CHOICE to make a change. Of course, there are life events we cannot choose. But, a lot of times, people who play the biggest victims, choose to make his or her life that way.
As David Ramsey says… spend time in life improving yourself, and yourself only. Compare to YOURSELF. Not to other people. See how far YOU have come with the cards you have. Not the person next to you. Stop bringing down people who ‘have it easier than you.’ They didn’t make the decisions you’ve made. People don’t deserve that treatment. Their story to get where they are is JUST as valid and big and impactful as yours is. Stop acting like yours is bigger, or worth more. It’s not. And don’t let people who treat you this way get away with it. If you want to keep good people, treat them well. And STOP letting yourself be a victim when you have every power to make a change. I have noticed drastic changes in myself with a change in mindset. You are worth the mindset change. If you want specific things in life, tell yourself you WILL get them. Just know, nothing good in life comes easy. What ‘sacrifices’ are you willing to make?”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Jenni Rathsack. It originally appeared on her blog. You can follow Jenni on Facebook and Instagram. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
Read more from Jenni:
Do you know someone who could benefit from reading this? SHARE this story on Facebook with family and friends.