In the age of over sharing on social media – blogs, facebook, twitter, instagram and various other platforms – sometimes you can’t help but go through your feed, see what other people have done for themselves and suddenly, gloom will wash over you as you feel like you’re not doing enough. Why couldn’t you? You see a lot of people online making the most in their lives: someone is backpacking across Europe and posts a photo every 5 or so minutes, someone is featured in an online press or local publication, someone has landed their dream job. It’s as if you’re lost in a sea of people who have found their calling and are insanely happy. Why does it feel like you have been cheated in life? You spent hours looking at your vision board and list of goals and think, what are you doing?

I would sit sometimes in self-pity; feeling like I haven’t done anything remarkable unlike everyone else and somehow, that means I am a complete failure. I would often feel like I’m being left behind as everyone around me are slowly getting their lives together. I would feel more of a mess than I already am.

Scour the Internet and you’ll find tons of articles, on tumblr, thought catalog or elite daily, about people undergoing through the same crisis. You’ll also find articles telling you to carpe diem your way in life. The thing is, the more we read about people listing down their goals for you, the more you’re subconsciously feeding into your mind that you have to be something in this world, be someone. And when you think about this, the more you’re convincing yourself that you have to be all of these before you reach a certain age.

Just because everyone else seem like they know what they’re doing doesn’t mean that you will never do. Like you, every now and then I have to remind myself that –

It’s okay. You are doing the best that you can.

It seems like the world is practically pressuring you to go out there and find yourself and your passion, create something out of it, focus on your next steps, go shoot for the stars, etc. If you don’t know what you want to do yet, that is okay. Your life is just starting out for you and you don’t have to figure everything out at once. I can assure you that no one has it figured out at all. Like you, everyone is simply trying out their best.

'Just because you took longer than others, doesn’t mean you failed.' (Unknown) Click To Tweet

I spent a year repeatedly telling myself and my friends that I’m running out of time to achieve anything. This is because I have a timeline mapped out for myself since high school and it honestly felt like that for a time. It took a while for me to understand that there are billions of people out there, every single one of them embarking on different paths. Everyone has their own pace. You have yours. I know that with the wave of updates that we see from strangers each day, we can’t help but live in a world of constant comparison. It might seem like this one person is more successful than you because they’re able to achieve their goals at this point and you haven’t. That’s not true at all. Other people’s success is not your failure. You always have a chance to have what you want. Life isn’t a race. Success doesn’t have a deadline. Someday, you will get there too.

(photo from laughingbear at tumblr, drawing by not-a-robbery from tumblr)

 

'Other people’s success is not your failure.' (Unknown) Click To Tweet

What is success for you?

We all have different definitions of success; it could be traveling the world in your 20’s or settling down by the time you’re 30. It could be putting up your own firm, buying a house or graduating – it doesn’t matter. Overall success doesn’t happen in a day or two, it takes time. Remember that small achievements each day means success too. It’s finishing a paper before the deadline, remembering to water your plants, finishing a book, buying yourself that dress you’ve been eyeing for a while now. You don’t have to book that ticket to Europe if you feel like you can’t afford your dream trip at the moment. You don’t have to work your way up the career ladder within a year. It’s the small steps that get you there. If you are able to set aside money for your dream adventure in every allowance or paycheck, that already counts as success. If you are able to go to a place you haven’t been yet once a year, that is success too. There is no need to push yourself to have everything all at once. Big goals are achieved through small goals.

Will I be something?
 Am I something?
 And the answer comes: 
 You already are. 
 You always were. 
 And you still have time to be. (Anis Mojgan)

You don’t have to do something worthwhile each day to become the person that you want to be. You don’t have to have press features or a wide range of medals and diplomas to matter. You don’t have to go to nearly every country in the world to be something. Sometimes, you just need a day. Sometimes, you just have to take pleasure in the little things, like making yourself the perfect cup of coffee in the morning, doing at least 20 minutes on the treadmill (especially if you’re the person who has a part that dies every time someone mentions working out), cleaning out your room, sending out a postcard to an online friend. Even if you feel like you’re not doing enough, know that you already are. Try to be kinder to yourself. The most simplest goals are already enough for you to live the life that you want. Remember that –

You are here, and that is enough.


You can also read this piece on Thought Catalog.

feature image by freddie marriage

Cara

Cara likes to read, write and laze around in her spare time. She goes into trance whenever she walks into bookstores and antique shops. She hopes to write about many adventures she'll have one day.

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16 Comments

  1. Reply

    Nurul

    March 4, 2015

    I saw Kisty tweeted about this post and I’m so thankful you wrote this! I always envy other people’s successes and forgetting that each of us has different path, pace and purpose in life. Like you said, little achievements matter, too – so I’m gonna keep that in mind. Thanks again for writing this! 🙂

    • Reply

      Cariza

      March 4, 2015

      Hi Nurul,

      I think most of us tend to forget about life not being a race and it being a continuous growing process. Even I have to keep reminding it to myself too! I wrote this for all of us who feel like we aren’t enough – because we are, it’s all about perspective. Thank you so much for reading! 🙂

  2. Reply

    Anna

    March 5, 2015

    I feel the same way everytime I find myself skimming over my social media feeds! This is why I stay away from Facebook as much as possible, hehe. As for goals.. I try to set small ones.. that hopefully lead up to bigger ones in the future. Better something than nothing, right?

    An achievement, no matter how big or small it is, as long as it’s done with love, effort and sincerity, already weighs a lot.

    • Reply

      Cariza

      March 4, 2015

      Hi Anna,

      Too much social media caused me trouble too, it made me constantly think I must be doing something wrong compared to everyone else. But there is no right or perfect way on how to live out your life. And you’re right, as long as your achievements are done with good intentions, they matter. 🙂

  3. Reply

    Jonver

    March 4, 2015

    “Try to be kinder to yourself.”

    This post sums up my feelings every day – the feeling of not being enough or not achieving enough. I have a clear cut plan when I graduated from high school – but after spending way too much time on college (not to mention on a wrong course) and three years of underemployment – I still believe, no matter how little hope I have – that somewhere sometime I’ll be where I’ll be happy. It’s not easy to keep that hope up – but believe me that hope wakes me up every single morning (or night, because I work when everyone else is asleep). That and the jolt from my cuppa, the zing from the cold shower, the half hour walk to the office, and all the thoughts in my head. Of course, I still think where I could’ve been if it weren’t for my decisions and in a large part decisions of the capable people in my life then. But I revel in the vision of tomorrow.

    Call me a fool but I guess to each whatever keeps him/her going.

    • Reply

      Cariza

      March 5, 2015

      Hi Jonver,

      You are not a fool and you are most certainly not alone in feeling these things. I, for one, understand you completely. I have the same hope about happiness that keeps me going. There are times too wherein I can’t help but look back at the decisions I’ve made and if changing any of them would’ve led me to a different path than where I am now. If somewhere, perhaps in a distant universe, there is a version of me that is more content with her life. But I’m trying to be happy where I am. It’s hard at times, but the key is to always move forward. All of us need reminding once the doubts start pouring in.The worst battles that we face are the ones with ourselves.

      And I’d like to share a quote that I’ve recently read, which changed so much in my perspective. It’s from niqabis. It’s that happiness is not a destination. It’s not an achievement or a constant state of being. It comes in moments, and you experience it along with every other emotion on the spectrum. The more you chase on a constructed idea of what happiness is, the more you’ll be discontent with your life. Who you are and what you have now is more than enough. As your friend, I know it is. I believe it is.

  4. Reply

    Suba

    March 4, 2015

    Hi Cariza!
    I’ve been following you since my first day on Tumblr! Just wanted to tell you that I’ve always enjoyed your posts and I found this article very close to my heart.

    I’ve just passed the quarter century mark and I’m nowhere near where I thought I would be. Even so, I’ve come to peace with how my life is going and how this pace has allowed me to grow more as a person.

    Thank you for this post and I am looking forward to reading more of your writing.

    Cheers!

    • Reply

      Cariza

      March 5, 2015

      Hi Suba!

      First of all, thank you so much for following me on tumblr for a time now. I’ve forgotten how long I’ve been on there (now it has turned into a semi dumping ground for Harry Potter posts) but it makes me so happy when people message me about it. I’ve followed you back if you don’t mind.

      And I’m really glad to hear that! Some of us have yet to find that peace and are always at war with our minds, on what could’ve been’s and what if’s. Someone once said, we might not go where we want to go, but we’ll always end up where we are meant to be. I find it hard to remind myself of that sometimes, but I’m trying a lot harder now.

      Thank you for the kind words and thank you for reading! 🙂

  5. Reply

    Mikyu Maglasang

    March 5, 2015

    This is such a beautiful piece, Cariza! I agree that social media has caused us to compare our lives with those of others, and it’s not a healthy habit. Remember that people from the days when internet didn’t exist yet (or wasn’t mainstream yet) made their own definition of success. They didn’t have social media to dictate their lives. They simply lived. And I hope that everyone will do the same.

    I’m actually slowly getting inactive in social media. I do post from time to time to promote my blog (hehe) and to post relevant stuff, but I hardly read updates from people anymore simply because I’m fed up with all the negativity surrounding the online world. It sucks my energy. I don’t want it to be the cause (or an addition) to my stress.

    I hope we all find our own definition of success and just be happy with it. 🙂

    • Reply

      Cariza

      March 5, 2015

      Hi Mikyu, 🙂

      Thank you so much! I think social media both has the good and bad side of things; it can give you a healthy dose of inspiration at times, but at the same time it could also bring you a lot of negativity. It’s definitely true that too much social media can be toxic for a person. It pays to take a break from it every once in a while.

      (It makes a lot of difference if you follow the right people, though! Lately, I’ve been trying to surround all of my social media platforms with positive, beautiful outlets – like literature and film accounts, cultural blogs, people who promote uplifting thoughts and spirits. So I’m always fed with topics that inspire me, provoke me, and push me to not be too harsh on myself. I’ve read that it’s okay to do a “detox” every once in a while on the accounts you follow, as it’s important to create a healthy, positive space for yourself too.)

  6. Reply

    Janine

    February 22, 2016

    I have not reached the “quarter life” stage yet but I already have the “crisis”. LOL. Back when I was still pregnant and I saw photos of my friends and batchmates wearing their graduation gowns and happy and I was really disappointed with myself. It was the downest time of my life (I don’t think the term downest even exists LOL). After giving birth, I went back to college and graduated too. I’ve had a couple of jobs that I didn’t really like doing just to support my babe and then I landed a job on my dream company. I’m earning more than enough if I were still single, but it isn’t just the same when you have a baby and younger sister to support. 🙁 The first 1.5 years was very tough for me and honestly, I was in the verge of giving up literally. If you know what I mean. It was so difficult but I’m just happy that my partner never left me. He and our baby was the only reason why I decided not to do it.

    • Reply

      Cariza

      February 22, 2016

      Hi Janine, thank you so much for sharing your story with me. I admire your courage and strength for coming this far, after all that you’ve been through. Heck, I admire you for supporting not just yourself but your family, too! I understand how frustrating it must feel, to see other people your age get by without the same burden as you. However, let me tell you this, I think everything that you’re doing and everything you’ve become is an entire success all on its own. I don’t even know you personally but I am already so, so proud of you. It must be hard not to compare and dwell on what if’s and circumstance, yet here you are: you’ve graduated with a degree, landed a place in your dream job, you have a loving family who cares and adores you, you have a child that carries your dreams.

      You have a beautiful life, Janine and it’s going to be even more so beautiful with the fire that you carry within yourself and sparks in your soul. I believe in you. I support you. You’re going to make it through so many things, I just know it in my heart.

  7. Reply

    Chrizzia

    February 22, 2016

    ‘ Try to be kinder to yourself. The most simplest goals are already enough for you to live the life that you want. Remember that – You are here, and that is enough.”

    This part struck me the most.

    This post is beautiful <3 I just turned 21 but I can relate to this so much! Haha. It feels so comforting to know that I'm not the only one going through this 'crisis'. And coincidently enough, my new year's resolution is to be kind to my self 🙂 and stop comparing and measuring up myself based on other people's 'achievements'.

    • Reply

      Cariza

      February 22, 2016

      Hello, Chrizzia. Thank you for liking this writing. That last part was also something to remind myself each time I go through these “quarter life crisis” episodes, that I am, and will always be, enough. It’s true when they say, “we are our own worst critics.” I myself have voices that repeatedly tell me I can never do/be the many things that I want to in life, and so I have to constantly learn to be kind to myself all the time.

      Yay for turning, 21! I hope it will be a magical year for you. 🙂

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