Ideally, we do not compare ourselves to others. Everyone has their own path, their own stories, their own reasons. I find it hard sometimes to live up to that ideal.
Today I ran into someone that I know and like. We had a nice time together but she told me about her astonishing career success. Especially today, it wasn't what I needed to hear. I was already feeling down. I have no career success, astonishing or otherwise, to share. While there was no malice intended, there was also no clue about how sharing this information would make me feel. I felt bad.
I don't know how I couldn't compare myself in this situation and I don't know what the appropriate response is when someone shares news like this and you're not in a place to happily receive it. Perhaps, at times, it's better to be in the company of people who understand us well, appreciate where we are at in our progress, and cheer us on as we progress even more. When we do the same for these people, we all move forward and feel supported as we do.
I applaud everyone who is succeeding at what they want to do and everyone who is struggling to find their way. We are all trying and we are all worthy. I hope we can remember these things no matter who crosses our paths.