Seeing my schoolmates begin their careers is inspiring. At times, however, it made me feel like I wasn’t doing enough. Even though I am in my gap year and I should be traveling and enjoying the moments before the stress of law school inevitably kicks in, I feel unhappy when I am unproductive. I went from having almost every minute of the day accounted for, to having more free time than I knew what to do with.
I did not want to immerse myself in a career that would deter me from law school, so I got involved with volunteer programs and legal internships. (Fortunately, this made a positive impact on my law school applications) However, these activities were unpaid and I continued to watch my friends and colleagues advance in their careers while I was doing work for an attorney that would replace me in 12 weeks.
Now I never stopped celebrating the successes of others, but I constantly second guessed my adequacy based on the lives of other people. It wasn’t my predicament that made me unhappy. It was my tendency to compare myself to others. I would discredit my accomplishments on the basis of someone else’s. I could never be completely satisfied because of this quality. I learned that it’s not fair to do that to myself. I also learned that I’m pretty awesome. Having someone in my life that supports me inspired me to see the greatness that I often overlook. So I made a conscious decision to stop measuring my greatness with regards to other people.
My tendency to compare myself to others did not change overnight– it was a subconscious habit that had developed over many years. However, with a significant amount of mental effort, I am becoming more in-tune to the moments where I would usually compare myself to others. I am learning to separate the successes of others from my position in life because they have no bearing on each other. Even though I am still working on becoming completely confident in my set of circumstances, this process is improving my overall self-confidence. Learning and accepting myself is the most beautiful experience.
Kayla J. Phillips