Achievment anxiety.

I read an article in Grazia last week about 'achievement anxiety' and it struck one hell of a chord with me. It basically summed up the feeling you hear about other people's (especially if those people are younger than you) achievements and it actually makes you feel a bit nauseous.

Reading the article made me breathe a massive sigh of relief; I. AM. NOT. ALONE.

Last year I did an evening class, and got chatting to the woman next to me, who was also in her twenties. When I found out that she was a doctor, I literally felt sick. Why aren't I a doctor? It's too late, I'll never be one... I'll never have a career that is as well respected as hers. I felt like the biggest underachiever ever.

Just in case there are other achievement anxiety sufferers (and we do suffer) reading this, I'm going to come clean and admit to you some of the (ridiculous) things that cause me anxiety: I'll never be a doctor (see above); I didn't get a first at university (my brother got one; I should have worked harder); I should have done psychology instead of English (it would be so much more relevant to my job; I probably would have done better- see 'not getting a first'); I didn't go to Oxbridge (the girl I used to 'compete with' for grades at school went; I was too scared to apply); I haven't finished my Masters yet (according to my life plan I should have an MEd by now); I had to give up teaching (I was ill, but I still blame myself relentlessly); etc etc etc...

It's absolutely ridiculous, isn't it? Seeing it written down almost makes me want to laugh out loud. I think that, in a way, things going wrong this year might be good for me. I need to learn how to fail, and when to admit defeat and change direction.

Repeat after me: you are not other people, you are yourself, and you need to focus on what is good for you. Stop comparing yourself unfavourably to other people. It will make you feel bad, which will ultimately hold you back.

Easier to write than to do, methinks.

2 comments

  1. for me at least I think your a great person and have a lot to be proud of, not just the job but who you are, I'm pretty proud to say your my friend but then I think you already know that!!!

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