Other People’s Success is Not Your Failure

Shaking Off the Pressures of Social Media

The world today is a messy, convoluted, discombobulating tidal wave of social media. The average person can hardly get through a day without the barrage of other people’s lives and opinions and profanity smacking them in the face. I go on Facebook to play mind numbing games and end up spending an hour scrolling through other people’s stress or obnoxiously prolific success before I farm so much as a single cyber vegetable.

Before I get much further in this, I’m gonna go on the record and just admit that I’m a very self conscious and critical person. So when I go on Facebook and I see how people I went to middle school with are inventing snazzy and helpful things for people who are blind, or working with famous persons in the music industry, or modeling for big brands, or, the real knife in my soul, traveling the world in all the places I’d like to visit, I can’t help but feel a bit bitter and wonder what in the Sam Hell I’m doing with my life.

I saw a quote somewhere on the interwebs that struck a chord with me: “Other people’s success is not your failure.” I liked it so much I tacked it to my wall as a reminder not to be so hard on myself whenever I see someone way more artistically talented than I or more savvy in the ways of the world. It’s grounding and reminds me that I really do have a pretty good life.

I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to explore my interests in college, branching out from my major in biology to such subjects as art history, sculpture, printmaking and heavy metal.

In recent years, I’ve made some leaps and bounds in personal growth. I’ve become a lot more okay with myself and my pace and the way that I comport myself in my life.

Three years ago, the thought of being four years into a university with almost no apparent progress in my paperwork goals would have been crushing. My self-doubt and disappointment would have been debilitating. Sometimes I do feel those things. By and large, however, I’m actually very happy. I’ve been inefficient in the pursuit of my degree and I’m hardly bothered.

In the state of the world today, it’s really easy to get lost in the fantasies of other people’s lives and forget ourselves in the process. My only advice is to say that a person should consciously seek out the things and the people that make them happy. Ask yourself what or who comforts you and brings you joy and just surround yourself with those people and, or things.

People have never been so accessible to each other, but it’s important to remember that no one is responsible for your happiness but you. The days are long, but the years are short. If you aren’t spending them making yourself happy, life really will be pointless.

As a wise and deeply fabulous Dr. Frank N. Furter once said in the cult classic film “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” “Don’t dream it, be it.”