I see quite some number of students in one-on-one sessions. Many of them are quite miserable, especially freshmen and fresh graduates. They have problems in decision making, with procrastination, concentration, problems with relationships, bad habits or problems related to their socio-economic situation. But most of them are quite unhappy, they feel trapped, disappointed, sometimes even bored and sick of everything. They want something big to happen in their life, they are waiting for their breakthrough and somehow nothing happens. They want to dream and achieve big, but someting goes wrong. Why does everybody have a better life than I have? Everybody travels, everybody has 500 likes on facebook, everybody has better times than I have. I hate my life, my body, my friends, nothing really matters to me, they say sometimes.
Of course most of them are doing great in sessions eventually, but before the change can happen, they need to swallow a huge piece of fact most of them did not see coming. The fact that they are not special.
It hurts knowing that you actually don’t stand out of the crowd. It hurts like hell to confess that you might actually be “just” the average. The thing is that many of these young people were brought up by permissive parenting, without borders and with self esteem boosters, which was a mantra through the last 20 or 30 years. It’s neither their fault, nor their parent’s. It was Zeitgeist. But what happens with youngsters who were told that they were perfect? That they were special? First, they have hard time to learn respect for others. Second, they are waiting to be served, because that’s what they are used to. Third, eventually they grow up. And as they do, they become miserable, because the big breakthrough they were waiting for, doesn’t happen. They start getting bad grades and blame their professors. They drop out of university and they blame their parents or the school system. They don’t get jobs and they blame the employers. I’m not saying it isn’t partly on other stakeholder’s shoulders, just want to illustrate that it’s always somebody else’s fault and never theirs.
In the crowd where everybody was told to be perfect and special, suddenly there isn’t anything special about being special. Realising this hurts. So what happens is that they wait, thinking “Sure, we’re not that perfect and not everybody can be”, but secretly they think: “but I am an exception.” Sorry, sadly, you’re 99% not. No, you’re not that 1 percent.
Neither am I, or is your neighbour, a friend, your boss, our president, that popstar on youtube. Most of us are just average. And there’s nothing bad about that, because that binds us; that unites us. In the world imbued with individualism and competition it is long forgotten what collectivity looks like. This might be one tiny reminder that we’re all in this together. And that’s okay. Others are miserable too. So don’t make their life even more miserable. When you suffer, look in the eyes of others. They are suffering too. We all want to be accepted, appreciated, loved. And we all deserve this. That’s actually the slogan of our fb page. We deserve this. But we are nothing special.
So as soon as you realize the bigger picture and forget about yourself a little bit, you are awarded immensely. You are able to breathe. You no longer feel pressured to perform. No longer have to compare to others. No longer have to worry whether you’ll manage. Because you can trust that you will, somehow. You have done it before and you can do it again. Only this time without this overwhelming feeling of self-care, self confidence, self image, self pride and stupid self-help industry products and inventions.
You are great. And so are others. Stop comparing, because you’re no better than they are. Or worse. We’re in this together.
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