There are days when I see myself as “less than.” Less than what? Less than the general population who gets up and goes to work everyday. Less than the people I used to work with who have risen high on the Corporate America success ladder. Less than even some people who have recovered from mental illness and seem to have left their struggles in the dust.
I feel less than fulfilled with my current life. I make a point of spending my time writing everyday, which gives me tremendous value. But my overall everyday life pales in comparison to my past life before I was really hit with bipolar depression.
So I ask myself the question, how can I exists without feeling “less than” as a human being? For starters, I am aiming to make my comparison a little fairer. What do I mean by making it fairer? Well, it’s not fair to compare a basket of eggs with a basket of oranges. After bipolar disorder took me down hard I had to recover from a series of major episodes. The fact that I am capable of doing all that I currently do is a tremendous success. But comparing my life now with the past and before bipolar disorder really wrecked havoc is simply not a fair comparison.
I am willing to bet I am not alone in feeling “less than.” I am sure there are other people out there who feel like they were so much better before a mental illness disrupted their life. I want to say to them, “you are not alone.” It does not make you feel better to know other people suffer the same plight, but it certainly puts things into perspective. It allows you to realize other people are carrying the same or similar torch. Plowing away each day, trying not to get caught up in letting the “less than” feelings dominate.
Part of the problem with feeling “less than” nags at the self-esteem and tears down self-confidence. Many of these feelings are so “normal,” but somewhere along the way we forget to address them. We end up with an overflow of bad feelings about ourselves and we don’t know what to do about them.
I have truly found that if I hit the nail on the head with something I at least have a chance at knowing what to do with it. So if I call out a day when I am really feeling “less than” I will acknowledge that feeling. I can then talk my way through the bad thoughts I may have about myself. The more I realize the thoughts are very “normal” for some reason the more strength I gain. Instead of going through my day feeling worse about myself, I can grab onto what I do well and build upon that instead.
I have always heard it is not a good idea to compare yourself to others, so why would I want to compare my life to someone else? Not a good idea. I have to keep reminding myself that I am not “less than” just “different.” And that “different” is simply okay.