What to do when you’re feeling left behind
December 23, 2016
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Your cousin is getting married, your best friend just had a baby and your classmate from campus just tweeted #GotMyDreamJob while you’re contemplating a career change. Even Bob from Accounting got a promotion. Meanwhile, your birthday is around the corner and you’re facing the very real possibility of celebrating it alone because that relationship you invested three years in, has just ended. I think it’s safe to say you’re feeling a little left behind. It’s easy to feel like you’ve been left in the dust, and especially in such times when you can keep tabs on family and friends with just one click.

You’ve fallen short of your goals

Besides that, you’ve probably fallen short of those idealistic goals you wrote down in your journal after high school, and the rest of the world isn’t letting you forget it. So, what do you do? The person you were back then isn’t the person you are today. People grow and evolve and so do their goals. That’s a show of progress and it is a good thing. There’s no need to feel bad about not having figured it all out in one go.

You’re not seeing the whole picture

When it comes to other people’s lives and especially on social media, chances are, you’re not seeing the whole picture. It may seem like everyone else is getting all the things you want with much greater ease than you are, but the truth is, everyone has problems. You’re probably putting on a brave face and guess what, so are they. Now I’m not saying that you should take solace in other people’s problems, only that things aren’t always as they seem. So breathe and cut yourself some slack.

Choices made to appease what you perceive others think you should be doing rather than what nurtures you are self-negating.

Kevin Sandness

Running another’s race

That notwithstanding, you need to ask yourself whether you’ve been walking your own path or running other people’s races. Beware other people’s expectations for your life. Life today grows increasingly competitive and it’s easy to get sucked into that vortex and keep comparing yourself to others. That’s alright, it happens to the best of us, but remember that we all have our own journey with its own mountains and valleys. Some people walk their journey faster than others and there’s a reason for that, just like there’s a reason yours seems to be unfolding slowly.

Read Also: How to find yourself when you’re feeling lost

While my campus mates went on to land jobs as soon as we graduated, I took on a different path. I choose to complete my Master’s Degree and spend six months volunteering in a remote primary school helping children learn how to read. Four years later I still hadn’t landed my first job and yes, I did feel left behind, but the experiences I picked up along the way were invaluable. I have done some travelling and lots of soul work that has allowed me to find and embrace my authentic self and here I am.

Reassess and Prepare

Something I have found to be helpful when you’re feeling left behind is to just stop and reassess your goals. Then, pick one of those goals and begin preparing yourself for when you achieve it. It can be as simple as reading a book to equip yourself with the skills you need to cope in the workplace if your goal is to get a job, or a book on parenting and marriage and relationships if your goal is to settle down and start a family.

Be grateful

Along with that, you have to remember to be grateful for what you already have. You can do this through a prayer of thanksgiving, or start keeping an abundance journal. I’ve had a lot of people swear by abundance journals because on particularly rough days, you can just go back and read it, and remind yourself all the things you should be grateful for. Celebrate your own unique life experiences and revel in taking the road less traveled. If for nothing else, you are brave my friend!


About author

Wanjiru Ndung'u

Wanjiru Ndung'u writes fiction, poetry and essays. She is an irretrievable night owl, tea-lover and cat mom. She enjoys books, alternative music, movies and streaming shows.

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