Who cares if someone gets there first and you are the last one? Isn’t happiness to be welcomed all the time? Whether it comes earlier or later on, does it matter? The hall of fame is open for everyone, late and newcomers are all welcomed the same. So why do we consider life to be a race?
Reasons why we see life as a race
1. We are always comparing ourselves with our friends and family members.
Just because your friends or family members have bought a house or a car doesn’t mean you also have to buy the same. Just because your friends or family got married or have kids it doesn’t mean that you also need to get married or have kids. It is okay to celebrate what those close to you have achieved without necessarily giving yourself the pressure of achieving the same. No matter how close you are to people, even if you grew up together or got the same education, life still differentiates our paths. You may complete your college education together but get jobs at different time frames. You may get married at the same time but have kids at different time frames. Stop comparing yourself to the next person! Never compare life, live and savour it.
2. Too much social media involvement
Social media’s evolution has left a lot of people under too much peer pressure. It has destroyed in most cases the fabric of the family and society. Most of the lives that people portray on social media are not what people are living. Yet this causes a lot of pressure and feeling of being left out by those who are watching.
3. We are always chasing the next rainbow thinking that’s what we need for us to be happy
Because it’s easy to obsess over something you don’t have than appreciate what you already have. You condemn yourself sometimes and feel that you are not doing anything productive with your life.
4. The truth is, life is dynamic
Your wants will change and so will the timeline. Embrace this uncertainty and know that surprises are fun. Life is going to throw weird things at you but that’s okay because that’s what makes it worth living.
Even though we may harbor such feelings but still it remains, life is not a race, it is what you do with it. As Amit said and I quote, “Life is not a race but a pace we need to maintain with reality.” ~Amit Abraham
What you do with it is what defines life. If you spend it running then it becomes a race, if you spend it trying to outdo others then it becomes a competition but if you choose to live it, then it becomes life. There are benefits to not living life as a race.
Why we shouldn’t live life as a race
1. It takes away the joy of living
When you have to compare your life to the next person all the while, it takes away the joy of living your life. If we slow down from this race thing, life will be more enjoyable, we can savour each moment. By slowing down, we can enjoy where we are right now without fretting about the next thing. We can be happy with all the things we’ve accomplished rather than dwelling on what we think we should have already completed. By slowing down, we get to be truly happy again.
We can sit by the beach and watch the sunset. Hang out with friends and loved ones and enjoy the moments whilst being fully present. We can take a walk and really enjoy the fresh air and physical space without worrying about anything. In other words, we can enjoy the simple things in life without having to complicate anything.
2. It puts too much unnecessary pressure on us
Nobody has a benchmark for what success should look like, it differs from one person to another. But when we are always comparing our lives with those of others, we put too much unnecessary pressure on ourselves. Pressure to try and achieve what the next person has achieved and within the timeframes, they have achieved it. But does that guarantee us happiness? Definitely not!
If someone became a billionaire at 30 and we reach 30 without being rich we start panicking and feeling underaccomplished. Our siblings may marry at 25 and that is okay, our time will come. If we finish college and our friends get jobs and 3 years down the line we are still unemployed, we start panicking thinking we are doomed. We never take the time to understand that we have different paths set for our lives.
3. It makes us envious of one another
There is really no point in envying the next person. Even if you are given what they have, it doesn’t guarantee that you will be happy with it. Probably you will even be more miserable than you were before. It’s impossible to guarantee anything in life. We are all different, and our measures of success and happiness are different too, what matters is that we are all happy in the end.
4. It creates tension and division among people
When we are competing with each other, we lose our togetherness or group achievement mentality and the individualism, and greedy nature kicks in. This divides us instead of uniting us for the greater common goal.
Life is not a race unless you are an athlete. If you rush it, it will leave you disheartened, feeling unworthy and desperate. Comparing yourself to other people will only magnify your failures and belittle your success. Don’t rush what should be cherished and savoured, create memories. One day, those memories shall be all that you can hold on to. You don’t have to overtake or outrun anyone, you are in your own lane, and after all, we all want different things in life.
Although it is hard to let go of our usual pace and slow down to enjoy life, if we practice it enough times, it will end up becoming a habit.
How to enjoy life without feeling like it’s a race
- If you want to win the race of life, you first need to understand that there is no race. Life is like a journey; comprised of humps and turns, corners and curves. Do not go through it on overdrive you will miss the road signs and crush. Take your time, stop on lay-byes and smell the roses if you have to, then carry on with your journey. The only end line in this life is mortality unless you are rushing to get there.
- Sometimes we are even rushing towards things that we do not need but just because it provides us with an adrenalin rush, we run anyway. Enjoy the moment you are in, savour what you have right now, it is what you need at this moment. Sometimes you need to remind yourself that there is nowhere that you need to be, you are right where you should be. Savour moments spend with family and loved ones, savour quality time with friends. Stop feeling like moments spend with family or friends constitute time wasted.
- Always remind yourself that you have enough time to do everything because you do. Not everything you want to do is something you are supposed to do. If you find yourself running out of time without doing something then maybe you were not supposed to do it in any case.
It is of utmost importance to remember not to undermine your worth by comparing yourself with others. Our differences are what make us special. Moreover, do not set your goals by what other people deem important, only you know what is best for you. Always remember not to take for granted the things closest to your heart. Cling to them as you would your life, for, without them, life is meaningless. Furthermore, do not let your years slip through your fingers by living in the past, or in the future. By living your life one day at a time, you live all the days of your life. Therefore, do not run through life so fast that you forget not only where you have been but also where you are going.
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