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Nothing compares to you…

“Stop comparing. Comparison empties your love bucket. Just praise. Praising fills your love bucket.”

The week before last was chaos for me! I had so much happening and it never really stopped. However, within that madness I had a revelation that I felt needed sharing. This is the sentiment of my poorly paraphrased statement that was part of a sermon at a wedding I attended.

The wedding was between two of my best friends who have stuck by me (and each other) through the worst of my times. They are true soul-mates and are perfect for each other. It was an absolute privilege of mine to be apart of a very small group of people invited to the ceremony and wedding breakfast. It was a beautiful day and to my knowledge, everything went without any problem.

The pastor who gave the sermon was the father of the groom. The sermon was lovely, the sentiment was lovely and they saying above just meant so much more to me that I thought at the time.

Don’t compare…don’t compare…

Comparison is natural in life. We see people around us and see their lives happening and consider it relative to our lives etc. We compare everything; it’s human nature.

Price comparison websites, energy cost websites, holiday packages, houses…

We compare what we have to what we don’t and what we want and make decisions whether to switch, change or strive for the alternative.

However, it doesn’t stop at the essentials, it carries on into people, our personalities, our lives and this is where is matters most.

Comparison fundamentally tries to “rank” the similarities (or lack thereof) of two things. So by comparing people (or facets of their personality), we are trying to identify the relative “rankings” of each person.

Why them and not me?…

In professional services (accounting, legal etc) we are recruited in year groups. As such, when it comes time for promotion (or bouses, or secondment opportunities…), not all people in the year group can get promoted. A select few get promoted based on whatever metrics are used by each individual firm.

The response for those not promoted is “Congratulations” with a subtle undertone of “Why them and not me?”. This comparison is natural, if not expected. In the collegiate system, there is natural “wastage” of each year group as people leave to other jobs, have different skill capabilities etc etc. This is part of the model and something you don’t necessarily know when you start. It doesn’t make it bad, it’s actually incredibly useful for the professions to work like this, it’s just not necessarily suited for each individual.

Hurricane glass…

This one is close to my heart as I’m living it now.

I’m 35. I have depression. I am going through a divorce. I live with my cat, in a rented room in the city centre. I’m just some guy.

Some of my friends are happily married, have children, have made their millions, are really happy, have their dream jobs…

I’m just some guy.

My life is not where I thought it would be now. It’s not what I wanted. It’s not what I planned.

…but…

…it makes me glad.

When everything with the divorce started, my natural thought was comparing my new life with my old life. I no longer had a wife, I no longer had the future I planned out, I knew I would have to sell my house, I knew ultimately I would lose my cats (Sky and Roxy), I knew I no longer had “the expected life” of a mid-thirties person.

It hurt.

As I have come to terms with my new life, I can actually see all the positives that come with it. I have grown as an individual. I am more in touch with myself now than I ever was before. Whilst I didn’t choose this life, and it isn’t what I thought I wanted, it is a good life. By no longer comparing myself to others, I am able to embrace what makes me who I actually am.

We are all unique. No two of us are the same. Embrace what makes you who you are and celebrate it!

Anti-social media…

I can’t remember where I saw it, but there is a great diagram that shows the issues with social media in the modern day. This is mostly due to people only posting the positive events of their lives on it.

We then compare ourselves to these other people, see that our lives fall short of what they’re doing and try to “compete”, posting only positive events from our lives.

The cycle of falsehood continues and we all feel worse and worse.

I see this as one of the causes of the increasing level of diagnosed mental health conditions in the youth today. I have heard stories of teenage girls being bullied, ostracised and self harming as a result of social media. Men see their lack of success as a “man” thrust down their feeds each day likely impacting on the male suicide rates in the under 40’s.

I was asked what I would say to a teenage girl, about to go to university, who was being bullied for being smart and who was struggling with the responses of others on social media.

I say this…

IGNORE IT!

My rules in life are 1. Be yourself. 2. Don’t be a dick. If you can live by those, it doesn’t matter what the rest of the world thinks because 1. You’re happy being you and 2. You’re not a dick to other people.

I engage with social media on my own terms now and am much happier because of it!

Where do we go from here?…

You might not have noticed but I haven’t been streaming a lot lately. I’ve been busy and haven’t felt the games I am playing are that entertaining or interesting to watch so have never felt comfortable playing on camera.

I’ve decided I’m going ton try something a little different and it will involve you paying attention to my twitter. I’m going to be starting a “talk show”, or more realistically “just chatting”. I don’t know when it will be but I will endeavour to do it once (hopefully twice) a week for an hour or so where I will talk about a topic either of my own choosing or as chosen by viewers or people in chat as openly as possible. You will be able to find Episode 1 of “Just some guy” up on Twitch soon.

If you haven’t seen it already, I recorded Breaking the Stigma live on Twitch here. It’s free to watch, so if you haven’t attended one of my talks so far, so feel free to check it out.

I have a few other things coming up that I can’t talk about just yet, but will do when the time is right.

For now, just be yourself, keep checking back here and have fun!

As always you can follow along with my journey on TwitchFacebookTwitterInstagram and Discord.

Thank you

Andrew Salkeld

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