Feeling like a failure

Wheeeeeeew, it’s been a long time. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but 2020 has been a bit of a shit-storm – I have no shame in using that as an excuse for why I haven’t posted in 6 months (oops). To be honest, 2020 has been such a rollercoaster I think we’ve all earned the right to use it as an excuse – then at least there are some positives to come out of a global pandemic.

Things have changed so much since the start of 2020, and I feel like it’s taken a toll on everyone – not only is there the general worry of getting sick or passing on the virus to loved ones, but I also have this overwhelming fear that I’ll be made redundant – I’m sure this fear is shared by a huge amount of people.

Having graduated from university last year, I’m now in my first ‘proper adult’ job and I was really starting to sink my teeth in and show what I could do. Then COVID-19 comes around, and I’ve now been on Furlough since the 1st April. (Warning: I’m about to start moaning and feeling sorry for myself).

When I got the call that I was being put on Furlough, I was so upset – I felt like I had been branded ‘unimportant’ by my company, even though over 1000 employees had also been put on Furlough. I was embarrassed to tell my friends, because I felt like it highlighted that my Grad job wasn’t as good as theirs, I wasn’t needed and I was at risk. As the weeks passed, this embarrassment grew as I had to start facing questions about when would I be brought back? What have I done with all my free time?

Reading this back, it feels like such an overexaggeration to something that so many people are currently experiencing – as a country, we’re going through something completely new and I should be grateful to still be employed, even if I’m not actively working.

I think the main reason I reacted in such a way to being put on Furlough would be that I already find myself feeling this sense that I’m ‘behind’. Some of my friends have bought houses, have gone through pay rises and promotions, and I’m pretty sure they all earn a lot lot more than me. Furlough felt like an extra donkey-kick to the chest, pushing me back to feeling like a teenager with not a clue where my life is going.

(Side note: of course, when I hear news about my friends’ successes I am so so pleased and proud of them! They’re all bad bitches and I’m so happy for all of them and their achievements)

I suppose the point of this blog post is to stress how damaging comparison can be, I’m sure we’ve all heard the quote ‘comparison is the thief of joy’ but crikey is it true. Sometimes I just have to take a second to remind myself that I’m only 23, I work in a location where salaries are lower than cities, I’m in my first job and I’ve made a good impression – I might be at a different stage to those around me, but it’s because I’m on a different path!

It’s very easy to feel like a failure when it seems everyone around you is excelling, but it’s not very helpful. Therapy has really helped me recognise my negative/damaging thoughts, and ‘put them on trial’ – it’s an exercise I find myself leaning on quite a bit. All it basically is, is trying to challenge these thoughts that can affect your self-esteem, make you feel depressed or like a failure – you just need to try and find evidence for and against your thoughts (it helps to jot these down on some paper). Don’t forget that feelings aren’t facts! A bad feeling can’t be evidence. A lot of the time I struggle to find evidence for my sad thoughts, and it really helps put things in perspective.

If you’ve been feeling a little bit like me, just remember that success is different to everyone. It’s not money, and it’s not a job – there is no set mould for success, and there is no outlined journey. There’s no point comparing yourself to somenoe else, because you’re a completely separate person. Sometimes we all just have to remind ourselves that.

Thanks for reading, and allowing me to vent a little bit! Hope you’re all staying safe and well.

Flo x

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