Woody Allen said, “The talent for being happy is appreciating and liking what you have, instead of what you don’t have.” Appreciating and liking what you have– I like what I have. I am appreciative, too. But is it human nature to want more?
I know in college, one thing I was never satisfied with were my grades. I was always looking to improve– I wanted more, I wanted better, I wanted best.
During my 4-years in college, I worked hard in all aspects of my life. I strived for A’s (and if I fell short and got a B, I was disappointed…yeah, I was THAT girl), I worked part-time and played collegiate and intramural sports. I made time to relax and hang out with friends, but I needed a hectic schedule to keep me focused (as odd as that sounds).
But as senior year came around, I wasn’t satisfied with all I had worked for. I wanted to be even more productive on campus, so I became the president of my honor society.
This is where my downfall began. Of the members in this honor society, I was stunned over how many students had 4.0’s. I had worked as hard as I could through college and couldn’t manage something close to a cumulative 4.0 even if I received straight A’s for my last two semesters. I became, let’s call it, slightly obsessed. I put not only my heart and soul into my honor society to prove I was just as good as these “smarty pants” but I also went somewhat crazy over my studies.
I would get stress migraines and chronic headaches because I was jealous of what others had achieved and I was determined to do the same. I would beat myself up over receiving a B on a paper or quiz.
All of the stress was being placed on my by my own insecurites. Even my parents were telling me to calm down about my grades, but I thought they just weren’t good enough.
In the end, I really had nothing to prove to anyone. No one else was judging me—not my parents, not my teachers, not my advisors. The only person who was unhappy was me. I was unappreciative of the success that I gained throughout my previous three years. I only dwelled on the fact that others were “better” than me. I didn’t take the time to realize the successes in my life and just felt the need to constantly compare myself to other students.
I came to realize that there is always going to be someone “better”—whether it is academically, athletically, etc. I know now in order to be happy, I have to work my hardest and know that even if I fail, I at least know I tried my best; that even if the next person is “better” than me in something, that doesn’t mean I’m “bad”. Rather than worry about what everyone else has, I’ve learned to appreciate what I do have (apparently Woody Allen is very profound!).
— Allison Sheridan, Guest Blogger