October 18, 2018

By Annalise Sinclair

In graduate school, I was really, really lucky to have received an amazing graduate assistantship at a small, private school in Northeast Ohio. The school had two graduate assistants for their fraternity/sorority life office, one second year and one newbie. I got to be the newbie and worked alongside a woman who (in my eyes) was good at literally everything.

She was three years older than me and had worked professionally as a teacher before deciding to focus on higher education as her career. She was gorgeous, smart, funny, witty, and the students adored her. She was the first woman advisor of fraternity men that I had ever met and boy, did they listen to and respect her! She was everything that I wanted to be, but that the voice in the back of my head said I would never be.

At every opportunity, I would compare myself to her and find ways that she was better than me. My brain would start to trick itself into believing all of the ludicrous “proof” I would find that showed she was better than me. She was confident and could joke with our supervisor, something I could NOT do, which meant he obviously liked her more. The more rational explanation was that she had built a rapport with him during the year she worked with him prior to my arrival was significantly more likely, but something my brain just wouldn’t accept that as the truth.

This bred jealousy. Ugly, mean jealousy. I became so jealous I would do anything to make myself feel like I was better than her. I was mean, spiteful, and all around a despicable person to someone who could have been a fantastic mentor to me. It took years for me to realize what I had done and admit I had missed out on the opportunity for a great friendship. Even now, every time I think about her, I feel a twinge of guilt. I had let my own insecurities take precedence over my concern and care for another person, someone who genuinely cared about me.

So take it from someone who knows, stop comparing yourself to the people around you. It sounds stupidly simple, but it is incredibly hard to put into practice. Every time that little voice pops into your head to say, “I’m not as pretty, smart, funny, charming, etc. as her”, ask yourself where that comparison comes from. Have a conversation with your little voice. I have a sneaking suspicion that you will find it is a liar.

It’s time to be the best version of YOU. Stop comparing. You are perfect as is.