As a recent graduate of Taylor University, I am currently walking through the transition from college life to the real world. During this time, I’ve experienced many feelings ranging from confidence to fear. I’ve also become aware of the comparison trap between recent graduates as they settle into a job or house, only to see that their college friends are making more money or living in a bigger house. Having that mindset, it becomes so easy to see the paths others are taking and measure it to where we are. This can become a problem when it keeps us from being content. Here are some ways to minimize comparison and maximize contentment:
It’s hard to be judgmental of your circumstances when you take the time to focus on being grateful. I have personally found it most impactful to write down the things I’m thankful for and the accomplishments I’ve had since graduating. Studies have shown that we remember things better when we write them down. You can begin by writing down three positive things in your life each day and add more as you get in the routine of things.
Embrace your strengths
Everyone has unique capabilities and gifts, and they should be celebrated – but that doesn’t mean you should overlook your own. The other day at the EDGE office, our team went around the circle and shared what each of our unique superpowers (or strengths) were – which was actually a little difficult. It’s often easier for us to point out our weaknesses than it is to highlight our strengths, but if you can learn to acknowledge and own the strengths that are unique to you, then your growing confidence won’t leave much room for comparison.
Surround yourself with a positive community
The people you surround yourself with can have a huge impact on how you see your life. Find a mentor who has already been through the post-college transition. Ask them about how they dealt with comparison as they began their careers, and be open with them about the hardships you might be facing. My advisor in college was someone who I confided in throughout my four years and has been a major part of my post-grad transition. She is someone I can go to for questions about my career, dreams and life in general. Throughout my four years she became more than my advisor but a member of the positive community that surrounded me. By having people you can confide in, you have the opportunity to be encouraged, to gain confidence, and to find direction. EDGE is a great way to get connected with a group of peers who are in the same life stage, as well as a mentor who can help guide you in your transition.
Focus on the journey
Too often, we become so focused on where we’re going that we overlook where we’re standing right now. We are quick to look around at others and fail to see the beauty in our own journey. In times like this, it’s important to remember that you will only be at this stage of life once. Every season of life is built on the past, so why not build it well? Enjoy living at home while you save up for your first apartment. Invest in the process of growing and deepening your friendships. Be a tourist and find adventure in the city or town that you’re living in right now. Enjoy the journey, because it’s uniquely yours.