There is a delicate balance that we all must navigate in our lives after recovery. We know what we just went through, we felt it, we lived it. We know that it was hard for us and that we had to work hard through a lot of pain to get to the place we are now. We take pride in that fact, and rightfully so. No one should ever minimize the amount of work that you put into your recovery process and we will always encourage you to wear that fact like a badge of pride. Everyone is entitled to love themselves and take the time to feel proud of what they have done. But what we don’t want you to do is take the pride too far and begin to minimize others’ experiences in an effort to express that pride.
It’s a far too common thing that happens in everyday life, not just the life that exists within mental illness recovery. People are constantly comparing their experiences to others, seemingly in an effort to justify the hardships that they think they went through. For whatever reason, we have been trained to think that that comparison is the only way to prove that we have been through worse. But the reality is that no hardship can be compared, nor should it be. We don’t need to feel superior or inferior to anyone else for struggling with something. All of our struggles are personal and unique to us. It’s the nature of being unique individuals. In being unique and singular in who we are, we should allow ourselves the luxury of struggling with what we struggle with. Your hardships were hard, that’s the end of the story. You don’t need to justify that to anyone else or yourself. Just recognize that it was hard and others will do the same. We spend too much time in our lives trying to compare ourselves to others. Whether it be comparing your actions to a sibling to measure success or comparing your knowledge of something to someone else’s in order to feel justified in your knowledge, we spend so much time trying to one-up each other and feel better about who we are.
Not as Good as Them
We understand why we do it but it’s just so unnecessary. We know that our perceptions of success and validity are founded on watching others. With that in mind, it’s only natural for us to feel like we have to compare what we do to those people. But we have to find ways to liberate ourselves from those comparisons and live our lives how we deserve to live them. We have talked before about accepting the uniqueness of your coping necessities. You are your own person and you need to find those coping mechanisms that work for you, regardless of if they work for anyone else. Apply that same mindset to the way you look at your experiences. Of course, there are differences between certain hardships and struggles. Losing your wallet isn’t the same as losing a loved one. You can apply a certain amount of comparison to that, but we can still understand that losing your wallet isn’t a good thing, and for someone who was just going through their day, it was tough. While it may not emotionally affect someone the same as losing someone they love, that doesn’t mean we have to minimize the fact that it isn’t enjoyable. There is no point in ranking any of these hardships; creating a hierarchy serves nothing but to make ourselves feel better by putting others down. Your life is yours to live and what you experience has difficult should be viewed as difficult. Just as someone might struggle with stage fright while another person may find it easy to get up in front of a crowd, we don’t fault the person for having issues being on stage. We accept it as unique to them and sympathize with what they are going through.
Our world keeps building these barriers between us. Whether it’s who we voted for or what we do for a living, we have been bred to carry these perspectives of constantly comparing ourselves to each other. And it is damaging to our self-esteem and plays a huge role in why mental health is becoming such a problem in our society. Struggles are hard, no matter what they are. It is one thing to judge someone for how they respond to their hardships, but it is another thing to judge them for struggling at all. If a person takes their hardships as an excuse to belittle others, that’s not okay. But that doesn’t mean their experiences were any less difficult. By accepting the fact that everybody goes through something, and that each of those things is uniquely different, then we can begin to break down those barriers that our world has built up around us. We can begin to free ourselves from the shadow of comparisons.
If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with anxiety or mental illness, do not hesitate to contact the team here at True Recovery. Our facility is located in Newport Beach, California, with our supportive housing located close to our campus in Costa Mesa. Take advantage of the local beaches, nature preserves, and Orange County community while we fight for you. Contact us at (866) 399-6528 or [email protected]