9 Things I’ve Learned From Constantly Striving To Be Better Than I Was Yesterday


1. Most jealousy is a waste of time.

Being jealous is a time suck more than anything else. It is one of the worst means of procrastination that you can engage in. Calculating how well someone else seems to be doing is unproductive and often unfounded. The truth is you have no idea whether that person is living a good life right now — one that is happy, or fulfilled, etc. — or not. If your jealousy is stemming from social media, the only thing you’re going off of is a picture or a status update, and that is in no way representative of someone’s actual life.

2. Being fake will hurt you more than it will hurt anyone else.

Lying about who you really are, or how you really feel about something or someone will always affects you more than the person you’re lying to, because you’ll be the one left thinking about it. If you have feelings for someone and aren’t telling them, someone hurts you but you don’t say anything, or you give someone the answer they want to hear instead of the answer you know is right, ultimately, you’re the one that that’s weighing on at the end of the day. And you didn’t do the other person any favors by not being honest with them. The people in your life have a right to your honesty, and you have the right to give it to them.

3. Having a competitive side is a good motivator, but you can’t take it too seriously.

Because your competitiveness can also encourage less favorable things, like envy and greed. Being fueled by the success of others is not a bad thing, but trying to hoard success can get you into trouble. When you recommend something to a friend that could make them more successful, and then it pays off for them, you can’t be jealous. Even though you were the one who pushed them to achieve their goal, once they reach it, sometimes you will still feel a pang because someone else is getting a successful rush when you aren’t. You have to remember that they were inspired to do more because of you, and your mentorship — however brief — helped cause the happiness they are currently feeling. And that’s a different feeling of success for you, but still a valuable one.

4. Given the choice between judging someone and trying to be understanding, you should at least try to opt for the latter.

My first instinct is to judge rather than to empathize. That is not something most of us like to admit, but I honestly can be so quick to judge that I don’t realize I’m doing it sometimes. In attempts to combat this, I try to process things slower, so that my gut reaction is not quite as instantaneous.

5. Giving yourself a hard time is unnecessarily exhausting.

When you are trying to improve in all facets of your life, you don’t need berate yourself for occasionally falling short. Working to do your best, or be your best, or be kinder, or chase whatever other cliche-sounding but positive thing you’re chasing does not mean you need to treat your life as a check list. You don’t need to be unkind to yourself if you fall short or slip up sometimes. We aren’t mistake-free beings, and to assume we can be perfect at all times will leave you unsatisfied because it’ll leave you striving for an unachievable goal.

6. Showing compassion doesn’t cost you anything.

Though being compassionate may not be our default setting, it takes only a few extra seconds of thought to respond compassionately instead of impatiently. If impatience is your gut reaction, try to question yourself before you respond in a harsh manner. Is this worth pushing your high standards on someone else for? Or are you just being impatient, or particular? It really helps to realize you have no idea what someone else is going through right now.

7. Being a good friend means being a good listener.

If you take in every sentence and then respond with something that relates back to you, you might not be helping your friend as much as you think. Of course your experience is helpful to your friends, but giving them time to get through the thought they desperately need to get out is equally helpful. Sometimes the best thing you can do for people is let them talk, and actually absorb what they’re saying.

8. Reminding someone that you are there for them is better than solving their problems.

The people who are constantly trying to be better are also the ones who want to fix everyone else’s problems without paying any attention to their own. If that describes you, remember this: when a friend is having a hard time, or your significant other needs you, and you want to drop everything to fix whatever needs to be fixed, know that your job is not to solve their problems. That’s not why they called you. They called you because they know they can rely on your support, and that’s all you need to give.

9. Sticking up for yourself is not a selfish act.

When you’re trying to improve on where you were the day before, or the day before that, you end up questioning a lot of your actions. I think this is partially out of fear — fear that we will have said the wrong thing, done the wrong thing, or approached something the wrong way. But at the end of the day, putting yourself ahead, taking credit when you deserve to, and advocating for yourself is not a selfish thing. Don’t ever guilt yourself for self-love. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

About the author

Maya Kachroo-Levine

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