Carrying the Burden Of Misleading Expectations
Story by Anonymous
Comparing yourself to others not only defines an inferiority complex in your mind, but also handicaps your growth, limits your potential and sets you astray in life.
It all began in 2017, when my elder cousin brother cleared JEE advanced, one of the toughest exams on the planet. He got into a reputed IIT. He gained good respect and I followed into his footsteps, as I always did since childhood.
I always thought that my brother had a perfect life. It was because he explored things himself, and led his life his own way, working hard to get the things he wanted.
I could have almost been really jealous of his life.
Maybe I was.
And knowingly, by always trying to outdo him in the things he did, I was trying to become someone I was not.
I realised the grave mistake I had made in my life, when I ended up joining coaching classes for JEE Advanced and failed miserably. I tried studying but always ended up questioning myself what I was doing.
It is difficult to stay motivated to do things blindly without reason, and I terribly failed at it.
Then, I repeated a year, without doing anything in that year, other than playing mobile games to find temporary bliss, and it soon became an addiction. However, the games also stopped when my parents took my phone away.
The most devastating part was the taunts by relatives, who always casually compared us brothers whenever we met at family events. This eventually made me quit going to any of these family gatherings but I still could not escape the taunts. They started coming from my own parents, who expected me to excel, to be someone ‘great’ in life.
I started to isolate myself in my room. I only saw pain and loneliness after that.
I had a constant feeling of heaviness in my chest. Due to lack of motivation and movement, I also grew obese. My eating habits and lack of concern for myself started blood pressure problems as well. Some extreme self-destructive thoughts also did cross my mind.
Also, I started being looked upon by sympathy, which I resented. I knew that it would take a lot of acceptance of me as someone ‘normal’ by everyone, for things to get better.
Over the duration of 2 years, I realised that I had lost my identity and had to now struggle to think it all again, about my likes and wants, and the direction I wanted to give my life.
However, loneliness gave me a lot of time to think about everything. I soon realised that the pain had made me grow mature and gave me clarity.
In a recent event, at my sister’s birthday party, which I could not avoid, my cousins noticed my extremely sad and silent behaviour. It was a big trigger point, which led my cousins to finally openly talk about my problems, and help me.
I now feel I was so stupid. I should have talked to them openly long ago, instead of ignoring them for so long, and suffering in silence.
They supported and helped me so much after breaking the ice. They said that they will always be there for me, no matter what.
I am still stuck in this situation, but at least now I know that there is someone who cares for me, and to whom my existence matters even though I have been a failure in my recent endeavours.
I now hope that I figure things out, and lead, define and build my own life from now.