Stop Chasing the Wrong Dream

From the tender age of four, the spirit of competitiveness was instilled in me. I remember spelling contests and memory tests were held each time we had family gatherings. At times it would go as far as comparing end of term school reports, and the one who scored the best in all subjects would be rewarded.

The first time I lost, I cried myself to sleep and felt humiliated. Being the second best was not good enough for me especially since the first place position was occupied by a boy. The money he got really didn’t matter, it was all the praise he received. I felt as though I had let down girls everywhere by not coming first. No one said I had, but I still felt it.

It was then that I told myself that I would never let a boy defeat me. I vowed to reclaim my standing. For that reason, my brother and any other boy became a threat to me for almost half of my life. I was obsessed with proving I was as good as they were in everything. His goals and dreams became mine. I was comfortable with pursuing anything as long as he was taking the same path.

The day he said he wanted to become a medical doctor, I made his dream mine.  When everyone asked what I wanted to do in the future I would nonchalantly tell people I wanted to be a medical doctor. Funny enough, I had no idea at all that I was far from what I wanted. I did quite well for a while until I lost interest and began receiving average grades in school. That’s when I realized that I had no idea of what I wanted to be, and that all along I was living someone else’s dream.

I sat down and tried to discover what I wanted, but the spirit of competitiveness took over. All I could think about was being the best in any other highly-esteemed career. I settled for law, and I tried pursuing it for a while but I lost interest in that, too. So I kept hopping from one career choice to another because I was unsure of what I wanted.

I went through so much unnecessary pain and pressure because I was fighting to be someone I wasn’t meant to be. Meanwhile, others noticed my passion but I wasn’t ready to accept it. I wanted something else.

My high school history teacher always told my dad that I was meant to be a writer, and that it was only a matter of time before I realized it. I ignored him every time he raised the issue until a moment came when nothing except writing made sense to me. Ultimately, I landed right back in the writing career without anyone or anything pushing me to do it.

My passion was fulfilled the day I decided to make pen and paper my best friends. The moment I started writing, I became unstoppable and I keep pushing myself to be the best version of myself. This was when I stopped trying to compete with anyone.  For the first time, I am happy and satisfied that I made the right decision for myself.

We often put ourselves under so much unnecessary pressure. We think we owe the world so much that we want to live our entire lives proving we are as good as men are. When we fail, we blame ourselves and feel inferior. We don’t owe anyone all of that, but we owe it to ourselves to be the best versions of ourselves.

If I had taken the time to realize my passion back then, I wouldn’t have wasted so much time achieving mediocre results. But because I was obsessed with competing, I lost a battle which I set up for myself – a battle in which I was fighting alone, and a battle in which I was my own judge.

None of that is necessary but we do it anyway. Stop fighting yourself. Instead, follow your path and build yourself up until you reach your maximum potential. Your only competition is yourself.

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