You might feel like you haven’t accomplished of what you were aiming to accomplish throughout your lifetime. You might feel like everyone else is further ahead of you and you’re struggling to keep up. You might feel like there’s something broken within you, like there’s something wrong at your core. But you’re wrong. You aren’t a failure. You aren’t a lost cause. You aren’t a disappointment. Here are a few gentle reminders that you’re doing so much better than you believe:
1. Progress is hard to spot from where you’re standing. If you do a little each and every day, you’re not going to notice the small changes that keep happening. It’s like when you see someone from your past for the first time in years. They might look completely different to you, even though they look pretty much the same to people who see them every single day. You’re too close to notice your own growth — but it’s there, even if you can’t tell the difference.
2. You’re probably making unfair comparisons each and every day. You’re probably comparing yourself to the famous men and women in your field who are the same age as you (or younger). You’re probably looking at their long list of accomplishments and kicking yourself for not reaching the high bar they’ve set. But take a second to compare yourself to any other average person. You’re probably doing fine in comparison. Maybe you’re even doing than fine. It’s good to have big hopes and dreams, but you shouldn’t be so hard on yourself for not reaching them as quickly as someone else.
3. Your focus rarely lingers on your successes. It’s much easier to stay angry at yourself for a long period of time than it is to act proud of yourself for a long period of time. When you accomplish something great, the glow is going to wear off quickly. But when you make a mistake, you’re going to dwell on it for hours, days, weeks, maybe even months. So if it seems like all you’ve done is screw up lately, your mind is playing tricks on you. You’ve accomplished plenty. You’ve simply been allowing the bad things to take up more space in your thoughts. You’ve been focusing on the worst and forgetting about the best.
4. You wouldn’t feel this way about anyone other than yourself. If your friends had accomplished the same amount you’ve accomplished, you would be proud of them. You would be congratulating them. You would be telling them what a great job they’ve done. So why can’t you feel that same excitement for yourself? Even though it’s hard to retrain your brain to stop thinking of yourself like an enemy, you need to start treating yourself more like a friend.
5. You’re still here. You don’t give yourself nearly enough credit for that. You’ve made it through your absolute worst moments. You survived your biggest challenges. Even if you don’t feel like you’re at your strongest right now, you still made it until today. And you can make it until tomorrow, too.