At some point or another in our all of lives, we’ve been in someone else’s shadow. Growing up, I was in the shadow of a number of people. Many of whom I didn’t know or didn’t know well.
How did I get there? My parents, in their misguided attempts to motivate me or get me to conform, thrust me into those shadows. I was constantly being asked Why can’t you be more like so-and-so? If I was doing something and wasn’t achieving to the level they expected, I was told So and so can do that. Why can’t you?
As much as I tried to shrug all of that off, as much as I tried to be an individual, what my parents said affected me. It wasn’t until I was in my 20s that I realized that it was OK to be me. I wasn’t that other person. I never would be. I never wanted to be.
And there’s nothing wrong with that.
There are people out there who are smarter and more competent than you. There are those who are better at some things that you are. I’ve run into that countless times in my life, and I’m sure you have too.
Instead of comparing yourself to them, embrace who you are. Instead of living in the shadow of others, cast your own shadow.
How? By know what you can and can’t do. Don’t be afraid to push against those boundaries. Don’t be afraid to try, to fail, then to try again.
The key is to that is focusing on what you want to do, on who you want to be. Ignore the progress and achievements of others. Then, work at your own pace. Do what you can, when you can. Build your skills and knowledge and life one brick at a time. You might not reach the lofty heights that others have, but that’s not the point.
The point of casting your own shadow is to become comfortable in your own skin. To accept and embrace who you are, and not who you or others expect you to be.
Be willing to do what you need to do at your own pace. You’ll soon find that those other people and their shadows will be meaningless in the grander scheme of your life.