iVillage Member
Registered: 04-26-2009
Mon, 03-29-2010 - 12:44am

Hello everyone. I posted a bit ago that "I'm going to get involved here," but haven't posted for close to a month, so thought I had better say something. I have really been working on my self-esteem, and it is getting better. I decided just to share some of my "learnings."

1) I saw a link at the bottom of the board to a video of Barbara Sher (I don't see it any more). I clicked on it, and I felt an immediate draw to her and was impressed by what she said. So I picked up one of her books, I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What it Was, and it has made a big impact on me. The book is about finding a career BUT it also talks a lot about loving and accepting yourself. She was a counselor and she has a very kind but wise and down-to-earth style about her. Just reading her words makes me feel like someone cares about me. And she has great advice. Anyway, I highly recommend it. One thing she said that has really helped me is that we shouldn't regret past mistakes because 1)EVERYONE has made mistakes and 2)We did the best we could at the time and what more can we expect of ourselves?

2) In looking at my life I've realized that I have basically been living as if life is a competition. I realized that I have felt that if I am not in the "top 10%" in terms of everything I hold important (marriage, job, looks, education, personality, money, etc.), than I am not worth anything. Most importantly I've realized IT IS A LIE. LIFE IS NOT A COMPETITION. In reading other posts tonight I see that others have been living according to the lie also. Lots of jealousy (feeling defensive and aggressive when you feel like someone is "winning" you at something). So for the past few days I've been telling myself over and over that LIFE IS NOT A COMPETITION. It is really helping. Seriously, is it a competition? Not in any way, really. I mean you have to survive, but other than that, the sense of competition is completely in my head. Rethinking this has really reduced a lot of stress for me. I also think in the past this insatiable need to feel as if I'm winning has blocked my opportunities to build new relationships because people would sense a desperation in me (I've gotta get back on top!) Now I am really trying to just say, "I deserve and can have friends just the way I am. I don't have to earn it or live up to anyone's expectations of anything in order to have friends." I guess a lot of this is just positive self-talk, but the Life is not a Competition idea has really been key to me.

I think I had come up with more profound ideas to share (ha), but I am tired and had better go to bed.

I will try to write more. I hope everyone else will, also. It kind of makes me feel bad that so many of us are lonely, but it is also comforting to know I am not alone.

I hope everyone has a great, self-loving week!

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-10-2009
Tue, 03-30-2010 - 1:42pm
you are absolutely right. where do you think the sense of competition comes from? is it just a survival thing?
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-17-2006
Wed, 03-31-2010 - 2:57pm

IMO, this sense of competition comes from both society and its expectations and from human nature. In general, most people feel the need to belong, feel like they're are on the top or better than someone else, and just want to be accepted/approved by others.

Society/culture sets up high expectations like you should be married by the time you're 30, settled with your career, own a home, etc and when most people in your life have met these criteria and you haven't, you feel like you're behind others in some way.

But I guess the thing to keep in mind is that people's lives are very different. There is no one "right" path to success or to having a good life. Some people marry young while others obtain higher education and consequentially, marry later, start or rebuild careers later, and own homes later. Both paths are okay. Ultimately, one has to try to forget about what other people think about them and the choices they made and just focus on themselves and live life for themselves, not others. I really need to remind myself of this!

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-28-2010
Thu, 04-29-2010 - 4:52pm


Yahooooo for you!