Just a few weeks ago I went to get drinks with my best friend. My buddy has a pretty high tolerance for bullshit, which is why he is still friends with me, and as we hung out, casual small-talk eventually became more serious conversations. In my friend group, pretty much everyone except me is in some sort of serious relationship, which can get kinda annoying when like three couples are cuddling around you and you just want to binge eat hummus in peace.
So I brought that up to my friend, honestly admitting that it made me feel weird (i.e. shitty) that I didn’t have a relationship to occupy my time with. He took a big gulp of his beer and gave his thoughts: “Well, it’s true that you don’t have a relationship, but look at what you do have: you pay a lease for a great place in town, you have a job that you love, and tons of friends.”
“Yeah,” I replied, ignoring his whole comment basically. “But I don’t have a relationship.”
“So?” He said defiantly. “You’re too busy looking at the one thing you don’t have than all the things you do have. You don’t give yourself enough credit.”
We don’t give ourselves enough credit.
We spend so much time focusing on what we don’t have, we don’t pay any attention to what we do have. We spend so much time focusing on what we aren’t, we don’t give any thought to what we are.
It’s easy to do — too easy, really. We can feel like our lives are competitions, and we need to finish first. We need to have it all, and if someone is prettier, smarter, or more popular than us, we are losing. We have to win. We get in this competitive spirit that makes us feel inherently inferior, because we can’t have it all.
We are all valuable. You are valuable, I promise you are.
But it can be hard to see through the fog of inadequacy that we have cast over ourselves. You have an amazing talent, a great skill, or passion that is beautiful. So do I. So does the next person who’ll read this. But when we think about all the things we aren’t, we forget about the things we are.
Maybe you aren’t in a relationship.
Maybe you aren’t in the job you want.
Maybe you aren’t doing super well financially.
Maybe you aren’t a supermodel.
Maybe you aren’t perfect.
But we have to stop characterizing ourselves by what we aren’t. We need to start assigning ourselves value based on what we are.
Maybe you are a stupendous partner.
Maybe you are an amazing friend.
Maybe you have a great singing voice.
Maybe you do good when people aren’t watching.
Maybe you have a passion to change the world.
Those are the things you have to remember.
Those are the things you need to put front and center. And that’s not to say that you can’t want to improve yourself or make changes — you should always want to grow! But even as you work on changing yourself, remind yourself of the things that are remaining constant because they are already awesome. Because you are already awesome.