unnerving comparison


When I log on to Facebook, read my friends’ blogs, or check status updates on Twitter, and other social media, a bitter taste creeps up, and I feel a bit disheartened.

I read about all the cool things my friends are doing, and some are coincidentally, things that I want to do too, and have tried to do indeed. So when someone else has “made it”, I become angry and bitter at myself. Why isn’t it me? As simple as why is someone else paid to write a review article in a magazine I had hoped to, when I had contacted the Editor previously and offered to write for free? Or more deeply, rubbing salt onto my wounds for the myriad of reasons that I was not able to attend an Ivy League college when I see the list of top universities my friends have attended one after another.

I muse over the disappointing facts and become discouraged. I feel my efforts are not rewarded. And I go into my thinking traps of negative thoughts – that I am not good enough, I am not qualified, I haven’t proved myself, I am not active enough to grab hold of the opportunities, I am not “out there”…

But why am I feeling resentful even though I am happy for my friends? Why I am making a comparison and unnerving my self-confidence? There are many factors out of my control. Everyone has his or her story. I cannot draw a conclusion simply by the end results my friends have achieved, regardless of whether it is something I would like to achieve too. We have skipped down different paths, and our trajectories for the future are different. My time will come too- once I figure out what I would like to do and who I am in this new era.

Plus, I forget to look at myself and at my own achievements. I forget that perhaps, someone out there is envious of what I have achieved, wishing that they could have done what I had done, and feeling stumped because they have tried but results were different for them. I should not discount my own career achievements simply because I am looking for a new course. In fact, I should be pretty proud of myself for rubbing shoulders with C-suite level executives and having the largest multinational companies and financial institutions as my clients one way or another by the time I was 25, and managing people older than me. My experience should also count, and my market value is high enough as recent encounters show. I have my own skill set unique from everyone else. Everyone’s experiences are significant in their own ways.

One of my friends, Lin Lin, gave me a profound reminder – “I wish you can look at yourself through my eyes… and through your loved ones’ eyes, it would be RUBBISH if you weren’t you!”

If you are in anyway upset at yourself for not “having it together” as other people have, then try this: look at yourself through the eyes of others, and feel their admiration for you.

Just be yourself, stop comparing.

You are beautiful too.

17 Responses

  1. Mr. Independent says:

    Such an awesome post!…this thread of thought was and has been on the forefront of my mind as well for the past year….your friend lin lin is very much correct…

  2. Kevin says:

    Hey Enoch,

    Completely agree with what you’ve written.

    One thing I’d add is that – life is a marathon, not a sprint. Just because you’re up one moment doesn’t mean that you’ll always be up. At some point in time, it’ll be time for someone else’s star to shine, and for yours to fade. The reverse is true too – just because your star hasn’t shone yet, doesn’t mean that it would never shine.

  3. nochnoch says:

    @mr independent: thanks 🙂 trust yourself and what you are doing!
    @kevin: very nicely put. i like that image and analogy of a marathon and stars shining. now we have to train our persistence for the run 🙂

  4. karl says:

    you are already perfect, just the way you are

  5. Em G-S says:

    This is so true missy! I was just having a conversation with my boyfriend last night about what a mess I am even though some people might think I’ve got it all together. Really, most people look pretty together, and most people are a mess too! And that’s just fine.

  6. Vivi says:

    Thank you for your always inspiring post! I admire your authenticity and the courage to allow yourself to be vulnerable. You have touched so many people’s heart and that’s first class!

  7. nochnoch says:

    @Em G-S: Totally! whether we “have it together” or not, what’s important is we are happy doing we we are doing!

    @Vivi: thanks for reading my blog! I hope to share my story and hopefully can inspire some people, but it also helps me learn more about myself 🙂 Pls feel free to share my blog with others, and I hope wherever you are, you are you and you’re happy! 🙂

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about Noch Noch

Enoch Li, (pen name: Noch Noch) was born and raised in Hong Kong and Australia. She has also studied / worked / lived in the US, France, UK, Japan, The Netherlands, China, and has travelled to more than 40 countries. She loves travelling and her curiosity in foreign cultures and languages has led her to enjoy her life as an international executive in the banking & finance industry. However, she was forced to take time off work in 2010 due to her illnesses and after spending time in recovery, cooking, practising Chinese calligraphy, reading and writing – in short, learning to take care of herself and letting out the residual work stress, she has transitioned into a Social Entrepreneur and founded BEARAPY to help corporates make workplaces mentally healthy, and support executives to become more resilient.