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How to Not (Completely) Hate Yourself

For many of us, it’s difficult to not feel like a failure. We’ve all gone through what I like to call It’s a Wonderful Life syndrome; we’ve all felt as though we haven’t even come close to achieving the great things we imagined we’d do when we were kids (make millions of dollars, be famous, kill dragons, etc). Now, while this may tempt you to hurl yourself off a bridge Jimmy Stewart style, hoping that your guardian angel gives you some perspective, I’ll step in right now and let you know that what you are feeling is completely natural. I’m in my twenties and I feel this way sometimes. It happens.

Trust me, this image makes sense here.

It gets better.

And here is how it gets better. Here’s a little strategy to make yourself cherish the wonderful life that you have and accept that, while you may not have grown up to become a Ghostbuster (yet…), your life truly is full of little triumphs which you have been too blind to see. This method, which I employ in my everyday life in order to keep myself grounded and content, will allow you to arrive at a sense of genuine happiness that is more potent than any drug.

Realize that there is someone who hates you for being more awesome than they are. Realize that, while you failed to live up to some of your own personal standards, there is someone from your past who quite simply failed hysterically. Realize that your life will never be as shitty as theirs.

Sure they do.

Go ahead, go open your high school yearbook. Flip through the pages, and compare it to your current knowledge of where these people are in their lives today. Maybe you’re Facebook friends with some of them, and you can check to see what they’ve been up to. Part of this process will be depressing. Oh, that insanely hot girl who indirectly taught all the boys in your class what puberty was about…sure, she’s made a few bucks modeling now. That freakishly smart Asian kid who still managed to be President of five school clubs and draw Pokemon characters really well…she’s already got a law degree and is banging out a PhD for kicks.

But somewhere in those pages is someone who was supposed to succeed. Someone who had about as much skill, drive and ambition as you. Someone who was going to become a successful writer, or film director, or fancy liquor store owner. Someone who was your most natural competition in all areas of life.

And then you realize, hey, that someone didn’t do any of those things. And they totally wish that they had your life. Because in comparison, your life is fucking awesome.

This is now what winning looks like. Even famous people can be failures.

Sure, I may not be the next James Joyce, but I’m getting paid to write this shit. Meanwhile, some douchebag who thought he was going to be the next James Joyce (or at least the next James Patterson) dropped out of college and has seen more movies via Netflix in this past year than he has seen actual human beings. He did have a job at Outback Steakhouse, but he decided to quit that gig to spend more time focusing on his art.

You can dig that, maybe you’ve done the same. For a few months last year I avoided real employment so I could build up my freelance writing gigs.

The difference between me and the theoretical loser who makes my life sweet by comparison is the fact that I put what little bit of money I have where my mouth is. Has that made me rich and famous and He-Man? Fuck no, but it has let me do something I enjoy doing.

So, whenever I feel down, I just open up my yearbook, look at those people who wanted to be doctors, and lawyers, and writers, and Peace Corpsers, and police men, and classy strippers, and musicians…and realize…wow, they didn’t accomplish their dreams. They crashed and burned. They wish we were still in high school. Their glory days are nothing but a hazy memory, and their future is depressing and hopeless.

And I smile. Because I’m awful.

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