1. We feel like we are falling behind in life.
Whether you are a student, taking a break from school, working, or just trudging through everyday life, many of us feel like we aren’t doing enough or we aren’t where we should be in life. There might be days where we feel confident and fulfilled because we are doing things that make us feel accomplished. These are the moments we all post on Instagram and feel proud to boast to others about.
But the real moments we struggle with are behind the scenes when we have silent breakdowns about when “our time” will be and why it seems as if success in life is the only ultimate goal. It is a constant battle of finding happiness even if we don’t get everything we want when we want it.
2. We attach our self-worth to what we do.
I often wonder, “How many of us would feel whole without the titles we attach ourselves to?”, “How would we feel if we weren’t defined as a writer, a speaker, an influencer, a leader, or a “public figure?” “If one day we were stripped of all the things that fill our egos, would we be able to face ourselves in the mirror?”
To live day by day and be happy with who we are and rejoice in the fact that we are alive should be enough to fill us with gratitude, but many of us aren’t grateful. We could get everything we ever wanted and still be miserable, because we’re chasing fame and validation instead of loving who we are.
3. We struggle with comparison and envy, even among our friends.
You’ve studied the self-help books, you’ve taken a social media break, and believe that you’ve overcome envy and comparison. Then, you find yourself scrolling through Instagram one night and come across a friend’s page.
She just got engaged, she’s traveling around the world, she has the job and everything ‘appears’ to be perfect. A feeling of anxiety overcomes you and you suddenly realize you are envious. It has happened to all of us at least once in our lives and as much as we struggle with shame for feeling envy, it is a human emotion.
We often measure our worth and progress in life against our peers because seeing other people’s progress could be seen as a threat to our own success. However, we all have unique paths and our own success stories, so there shouldn’t be any comparison. The only reason we should ever look at other people’s lives is to be inspired or to help someone.
4. Anxiety makes life harder than it needs to be.
Facing the world with anxiety often feels like walking on a tightrope and fearing you are going to fall any minute. Nothing ever feels relaxed. You fear making mistakes, you dwell on what someone said to you and how they said it, you feel the need to always please others and you have a fear of not being liked. It’s this cycle of trying to balance existing. It isn’t easy struggling with anxiety and facing the world every day while putting on a brave face just to seem ‘tough.’
5. We feel like social media validates us.
If we can put the bullshit aside and be honest for a second, our social media pages are a creation of the life we wish we had without the realities of everyday life. The reason why social media makes so many people feel depressed is because everyone is secretly in competition with each other and some of us just post for validation or because we want to keep up with others. Nothing feeds our egos more than likes, congratulations, followers, and having people say, “I look up to you.” A lot of us would feel inadequate without social praise.
6. Relationships make us feel like we are accepted in society.
Not all, but some of us secretly feel like being in a relationship is an achievement. When we get married, we feel like we have arrived and it is more acceptable to have someone to love than to be alone or to never marry. The truth is that society just places way too much emphasis on relationships and fails to acknowledge that self-love is needed, whether you are in a relationship or single.
7. Self-love is an everyday battle.
So many self-love articles make it seem as though self-love can be achieved overnight. While it is true that taking steps every day to get to a place of self-love is necessary, you will have days where you don’t love yourself. You will have days where you criticize every part of your body or your face and compare yourself to others. There will be days you question if you are enough. That doesn’t mean you aren’t making any progress, it means you are human.
8. We question if we know what we are doing
Are we smart enough in comparison to our peers at work and school? Do we have the knowledge or the skills to survive if we are offered the job of our dreams? No one teaches us how to live or exist. There is no handbook. If we are really honest with ourselves, we evolve based on the passing of information from others from generation to generation. No one knows what they are doing. You aren’t alone in your confusion.
9. Pretending to be strong every day is hard.
I won’t say we aren’t strong, because we are. Living and going through the challenges of everyday life is strength. Getting up every single day and fighting through depression, anxiety, grief, insecurities, uncertainty, or financial struggles is strength.
Being human means we are strong because we keep going even if we feel like giving up. But pretending to be strong in moments where we want to crumble is difficult because we have days when reality can no longer be hidden. There are days where not even a glossy photo on social media or an accomplishment can mask our pain.
10. In the end, we all just want to make it.
At the end of the day, we all just want to make it in life, whatever that means to us as individuals. We all want to find happiness and we hope that all the efforts we put forth daily will one day be worth it. As much as we portray a perfect picture to our friends and families on social media, the true core of who we are is human. We laugh, we cry, we struggle, we doubt, we fight every single day to be the best person we can be while we’re here on this earth. And that is enough.
Here’s to the things we wish we could say out loud.