In this information age, we have so many messages coming at us at any one time that it’s hard to filter it all. In an attempt to be efficient, we organize, categorize, and label. It only makes sense and yet, these labels give only a tiny snapshot of a much bigger picture.
We use these labels to define ourselves and the world around us, often through social networking platforms. It’s so easy to take a quick glance at someone’s profile page and sum up their personality based on broad labels such as job title, age, hometown, and relationship status. And once we start to define people based on these few criteria, it’s only natural to consider ourselves through that same lens.
It’s at this point that some of us start wondering how we measure up to our peers. Questions like “What does it mean that I’m single while all my friends are married?” or “Is my worth measured by the job title I put on my profile?” pop up in our minds.
It’s easy to be intimidated by social networking, especially if you have low self-esteem. It can feel like a never-ending list in all the ways you are not as “successful” as your peers.
This feeling of inadequacy can be overcome, however, once you realize that there’s no satisfaction in comparing yourself to other people. As people, we are more than our job titles, more than our political beliefs, and more than our marital status. Using an arbitrary pool of information to define ourselves and the people around us means that we neglect the complexities and experiences that make up our personalities.
Keep in mind that we are not inadequate simply because we perceive others as more adequate. Similarly, other people’s success does not mean our failure. We all have things to teach and we all have things to learn. Rather than striving to keep up with others, strive to be content with going at your own pace. You’ll find your stride eventually and with it, a greater sense of peace.
Image Credit: Dave Fayram / Flickr