I hope everyone is having a good day. I was just curious if someone could give me advice on a big issue I have come to realize recently. Lately, I have been kind of sad because all I do is work and work and work more. I am a college student studying Biology, but I have had doubts about my entire life.
I recently came to the actualization that I do not love anything about myself really. The only time I do feel a sense of accomplishment is when I compare myself to others. It has been going on my whole life. I used to run track and field in high school, but was always attacking myself for not being fast. I only loved getting medals and winning. I got CCENT (networking IT thing) certified in high school, and it only felt good because no one else did. I studied IT in high school because I was good at it and knew more than everyone else. I major in Biology now because of the altruism, but lately I just don’t know who I am anymore.
Most people do leisure activities because they enjoy them. But I have never enjoyed anything for me. I have created this system where my success is only ‘good’ when I have beaten others. Now that I am a young adult, in a world with almost 8 billion people, I know it is virtually impossible to find something that I can beat everyone else in. The problem is now I do nothing with my life except work on school stuff, watch television, and work at Best Buy Geek Squad.
Everyone keeps telling me to explore and that I need to just figure out what I like, but my brain is stuck in this mindset of not being able to like anything unless I can beat others at it, to tell myself I am good. I know why this has happened which is a story inning of itself, but my question is how do I actually explore what I love?
I feel regret everyday if I am not productive and want to work to find something I can love because I love it, but it seems as though nothing brings me joy. How have you all gotten past that mindset? What have you found that you enjoyed? Should I try to do track and field again?
Also I know that was a lot but I appreciate any and all advice. Have a great night.
Hi there @Meowman1012
I could be wrong however it sounds like you are going through a lot of feelings of insufficiency and issues with self worth now that you are out of high school. I think quite a few of us out there have gone through this and still struggle today to overcome the competitive/comparison type of feelings. Example if you were on honor roll or considered gifted/top of your class, when you get released out to the real world there is not the level of accolades and recognition for everything you do good.
So the question at hand? That’s pretty tough to say, but maybe start to pick apart the perfectionism and try to start with enjoying the process or activity itself rather than the end result. Something like an art or hobby can have a great result or be disastrous but the fun is in the activity itself. It can be helpful to start with a small intro to a hobby and see if you like it or not. It doesn’t have to be something “productive” it could be something completely simple. Maybe don’t share with everyone what you are doing to help overcome the perfectionist habits. Like for example practice knots or wood carving, knitting, crochet, puzzles, there are ton of things you could try out and have a low cost to introduce. You could go full deep dive with watching videos and learning more if you like it then.
For myself I do find I tend to pick things up on a whim, perhaps I get a lot of joy from it or I only get a few hours. I don’t know till I try. I have found some things I enjoy longer such as caring for rare plants and learning to make them thrive, taking care of fishtanks, and occasionally spinning yarn.
Hoping this gave you something to think on without being too drawn out -
wishing you the best <3/Mish
Hello Friend, Welcome to Heart Support and thank you for posting. You could go back to track and field again, but you might not be the best. How would that effect you? Can you find a couple things you can do alone? Something that isn’t competitive? Something you can feel good about trying? Take care! ~Mystrose
first off, i want to welcome you into the heartsupport community! thank you for joining the forum and for feeling comfortable to share what you’re going through. your competitive spirit is admirable and i understand why it could also leave a gap in your heart for what truly gives you passion aside from the awards and accolades you may earn. for me, i turned my hobby into a career and while i’m faaaaar from the best, i learn from my expected failures and am constantly excited by learning opportunities.
i think as you continue your college career, this is an incredible opportunity for you to just force yourself to dive into as many things as you can and see if it sparks your genuine interest. get some discount art supplies at a craft store and try painting, utilize your campus fields to try sports and even testing track&field again, maybe even learn new skills like cooking/baking. experiment and find your passion, my friend! embrace this discovery process and learn what truly makes you happy. can’t wait to hear what you find out about yourself!
I want to welcome you to HeartSupport. Thank you for posting so we can come alongside you to encourage you. I think we live in a world where we all think we are driven by being the best. For me, I am looking into taking singing lessons. I know that I have cracks & whatnot, but I want to get into the arts community here in town. I know I will never be on Broadway, but I want to do it because it brings me joy.
Maybe you could benefit from getting into something similar & there’s not a competition, it’s just for personal enjoyment.
You are valid. You are important. You matter.
Hi Friend, Thank you for your post. I was quite saddened by your post, I think you of course that you sound incredibly clever and yes good at every thing you do but I would love for you to just do something that you can enjoy just because its fun and for no other reason. I wonder if you started by looking for a hobbie that just you could try on your own where you are not comparing yourself to anyone else so you can relax and enjoy it and please have some fun with it whatever you decide to do. Best of luck Lisalovesfeathers. x
What you describe, struggling to find drive/enjoyment out of something if you don’t feel like it’s giving you some advantage, edge, or will be the best at it, is something that quite a few people struggle with. It may be a bit different from person to person, such as “If I’m not the best at it, why bother?”, or “If it’s not helping/advancing me, why bother?”, or similar. But it comes down to the same question… why can’t I do something for my own enjoyment? Why does it also have to serve some other purpose/criteria as well?
Answering that isn’t so easy. Are you looking for another job? Or are you looking for something to relax and recharge from your job? Can you enjoy something that you aren’t perfect in? Or that other’s don’t acknowledge your skill level in? Have you tried those things in private, where other’s can’t observe your skill in it, be it good or bad? The world is your oyster… I’d encourage you to try a lot of different things a little, without others around you, or knowing that you’re trying it, so that you can judge how well you like it for just yourself. If you find some enjoyment in it, purely for yourself, then you have your starting point.
Hello, Meowman1012 and welcome to HeartSupport! I know it is difficult for you to allow yourself to feel joy right now or allow yourself to embrace a hobby you may not excel at but I hope you can find the joy in life again.
Embrace something you loved as a child even something simple. Next time it rains I think you should just go run out in it and dance in the rain and jump in puddles. Climb a fence or tree just for the hell of it. Do a cartwheel, ride a bike down a steep hill, roll down a grassy hill and just let the giggles escape your throat as you spin faster and faster. You are still young and I think you need to find a way to embrace your youth again even for a short time.
To help you find a hobby I found a quiz that may help you Hobby Quiz: What Hobby Should You Try in 2022? There are a lot of questions on there about what you want out of the hobby and I want to encourage you to choose the options for fun and happiness more than the ones that say “competitive” and for monetary gain. I think it would be more helpful for you to take this quiz with the sole purpose of just seeing what it says as something to enjoy rather than necessarily excel at.
Colleges have so many clubs and things you can join. I think you should talk to your advisor and get a list of clubs and activities and just start trying things until you find a group of people/an activity that really speaks to you. College is a time for self-discovery and for exploring different things so I hope you can find a way to do those things.
You are a strong person and I think you will find your path in this world and a hobby that you will truly enjoy. I hope to see you around the community. Enjoy the small things
I appreciate you getting back to me Mish! I definitely relied on those accolades in high school because I was on high honor roll and received a lot of recognition for what I did which dissipated when I went to college, making me feel like I did not matter as much.
That is a good idea I should avoid sharing them with people because I have created this superficial image of who I am in an ideal sense to everyone I love, creating a perfect façade.
Thank you for the quiz via the link you provided. The quiz told me that I need to find a hobby that keeps me healthy and provided a list of applicable sports / leisure activities. I need to work on changing my mindset in a way that will let me enjoy exercise without comparing myself to others.
I do agree with those first ideologies, as I relate to them a lot. Why bother if I am not best? There is no reason for me to do something if it does not benefit me and I can only feel that joy when I compare myself to others and ‘win’ against them. Honestly, the question of why I cannot do something strictly for my own pleasure is more complicated than I would like to believe.
I am looking for something to do strictly for pleasure, but lately, it feels as though everything I do is work and I need to be productive or else I am not good enough. That is my mentality. I feel trapped in that idea but it is what I was always taught. The big theme is that I will try more things in private, and hopefully that will be my thing.
First, I just want to say thank you so much for the responses and positivity. I appreciate the validation more than I would have expected otherwise. Here are my thoughts based on what everyone has said thus far.
One of the biggest themes is that I look to others in order to feel some sort of validation and that is where my joy is derived from currently. The best solution would be to try activities that I might like in private, without telling anyone else. To an extent, I kind of do this:
- I work out VERY early or VERY late in the morning or night, respectively. I generally feel good doing these, but had a question for everyone. I loved track and field, but by doing this in private, is that going to slow me down? Should I ‘practice’ training with other people to get more discipline or no?
- I do play video games occasionally, which I actually enjoy. Sometimes I feel bad after because I was not doing something more productive.
- Similarly, I also do this with television, as I do watch a lot of shows such as “Ozark” or “Only Murders in our Building” or even “Good Girls” (All amazing, 10/10 recommend)
- I also love coding when I took a CS201 class at my school I learned java and it was so amazing. I kept trying to move forward but I dropped out for a while and let this dissipate. Not entirely sure how to get back into it for free.
Does anyone know how to get past that ‘guilt’ and adopt a new mindset of mindfulness? What actual steps should I take to feel better about relaxing? Because, when I thought about it, I do technically have hobbies, I just do not do them routinely and feel guilty when I am not productive ALL THE TIME. Thank you all for being so welcoming.
Hi again friend
Thank you for responding to our posts. I understand what you mean about how perhaps always doing something on your own is going to possibly slow down or prevent any progress towards learning to change your mindset when it comes to being able to have fun and not be concerned about winning which is really what cbt is all about really,
I don’t know if you have ever looked into CBT (congnative behavior Therapy) It deals with many different things but its main purpose simply put is to manage the thoughts patterns that are causing problems in our lives, however they are affecting us. They talk of a technique called exposure therapy which is what came into my mind when you mentioned how some of us (me included) suggested you did a solo only hobby.
I would encourage you to look into CBT I think it could be of great use to you, it could also help you look at how you feel the guilt with regards to allowing yourself a bit of time to have a bit of fun playing video games (which is fine by the way, you are allowed) I found a web page for you to look at, Im not saying this is the company or group you need but the information is good.
I hope this is helpful to you. CBT is, I belive the help you need for your last paragraph.
Good luck friend. Lisalovesfeathers. x
This was a really big thing for me, especially in regards to social media. I actually found a lot more purpose and joy when I stopped using facebook daily. The people who matter to me still keep in touch via text and calls, but I’m not just constantly getting that feed or feeling that I need to prove I’m having a good life to others. Living up to the superficial version of yourself is way too much for anyone.
Thank you as well for the very thoughtful responses back to us all