If Two Roads Are Diverged, Always Choose Your Own

If Two Roads Are Diverged, Always Choose Your Own

Once you stop the comparisons, your life will change for the better!

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Comparison is an extremely powerful form of envy and deceit. Whether it's on a lower level, such as comparing yourself to your friends, or a higher one, such as comparing yourself to celebrities, it still does the same amount of damage.

Comparison can tear apart friendships, relationships, households, workplaces, and identities. It shows no compassion or restriction, and can be hard to detect, confront, and control. Unfortunately, it is something that takes many people time and patience to overcome. But once you do, your life will never be the same.

The spirit of comparison comes in many different shapes and forms. For most, it's outright, where they are always comparing their financial, social, or physical status with others doing better than them in those categories of life. For others, it's a spiritual or mental thing, where you may be comparing your happiness to others. Either way, comparison prevents us from taking a step back and instead of acknowledging what we don't have, discovering ways to better ourselves in order to get where we want to be.

I always found myself comparing my current stage of life to others. In layman's terms, when I would see someone making successful moves in their life, I would always question why I wasn't making any. The biggest issue with that for me was those individuals I was comparing myself to were much older and in a completely different phase of life than I was.

Ever since I can remember. I have always hung around people older than me. My cousins are older, a lot of my high school friends were older, and friends from extracurriculars were older. Naturally, I considered us as equals because I really didn't know any better. So when they progressed in life, I thought I was supposed to as well.

It wasn't until college that I really realized I was making an impossible comparison. When I stopped comparing, I noticed that I began congratulating myself more. Not to say that I wasn't before, but the difference was that it was genuine. I was genuinely able to be happy for my friends and their accomplishments, and sometimes I was more excited than they were! That is when I knew I was getting better at focusing on my own journey.

That is also when I learned the difference between comparison and inspiration.

It is perfectly fine to have people you look up to and aspire to be like, but make sure that they are an influence and not an idol. Also, remember that your journey is specific and unique to YOU. Only then will you be able to truly learn from life's lessons and radiate positive energy to others.

It is not an easy process. Sometimes I still catch myself being ungrateful for what I have and my accomplishments thus far. I just try to remind myself that it could be much worse and that there is no need to rush.

Patience has definitely been my biggest fight, both physically and mentally.

I have learned that life will move on with or without you. You can choose to sit and sulk in envious misery, or you can push through it and keep working on yourself. I choose to keep working on myself and uplifting those around me, and I think you should too.

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The Coach That Killed My Passion

An open letter to the coach that made me hate a sport I once loved.
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I fell in love with the game in second grade.

I lived for every practice and every game. I lived for the countless hours in the gym or my driveway perfecting every shot, every pass, and every move I could think of. Every night after dinner, I would go shoot and would not allow myself to go inside until I hit a hundred shots. I had a desire to play, to get better and to be the best basketball player I could possibly be.

I had many coaches between church leagues, rec leagues, personal coaches, basketball camps, middle school, and high school. Most of the coaches I had the opportunity to play for had a passion for the game like I did. They inspired me to never stop working. They would tell me I had a natural ability. I took pride in knowing that I worked hard and I took pride in the compliments that I got from my coaches and other parents. I always looked forward to the drills and, believe it or not, I even looked forward to the running. These coaches had a desire to teach, and I had a desire to learn through every good and bad thing that happened during many seasons. Thank you to the coaches that coached and supported me through the years.

SEE ALSO: My Regrets From My Time As A College Softball Player

Along with the good coaches, are a few bad coaches. These are the coaches that focused on favorites instead of the good of the entire team. I had coaches that no matter how hard I worked, it would never be good enough for them. I had coaches that would take insults too far on the court and in the classroom.

I had coaches that killed my passion and love for the game of basketball.

When a passion dies, it is quite possibly the most heartbreaking thing ever. A desire you once had to play every second of the day is gone, it turns into dreading every practice and game. It turns into leaving every game with earphones in so other parents don't talk to you about it. It meant dreading school the next day due to everyone talking about the previous game. My passion was destroyed when a coach looked at me in the eyes and said, "You could go to any other school and start varsity, but you just can't play for me."

SEE ALSO: Should College Athletes Be Limited To One Sport?

Looking back now at the amount of tears shed after practices and games, I just want to say to this coach:

Making me feel bad about myself doesn't make me want to play and work hard for you, whether in the classroom or on the court. Telling me that, "Hard work always pays off," and not keeping that word doesn't make me want to work hard either. I spent every minute of the day focusing on making sure you didn't see the pain that I felt, and all of my energy was put towards that fake smile when I said I was OK with how you treated me. There are not words for the feeling I got when parents of teammates asked why I didn't play more or why I got pulled after one mistake, I simply didn't have an answer. The way you made me feel about myself and my ability to play ball made me hate myself, not only did you make me doubt my ability to play, but you also turned my teammates against me to where they didn't trust my abilities. I would not wish the pain you caused me on my greatest enemy. I pray that one day, eventually, when all of your players quit coming back that you realize that it isn't all about winning records. It's about the players.

You can have winning records without a good coach if you have a good team, but you won't have a team if you can't treat players with the respect they deserve.

SEE ALSO: To The Little Girl Picking Up A Basketball For The First Time


Cover Image Credit: Equality Charter School

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The Selflessness Of Self-Care

It is OK to nurture yourself before nurturing others.

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Do you find yourself prioritizing taking care of others before taking care of yourself? I do.

Let me introduce myself. My name is Saiarchana, and I am a nurturer. Nurturing people is something that has almost become second-nature to me because I am so accustomed to doing it. I love uplifting others and being there to give them support when they are in need. I love giving support to others so much that I am even majoring in Psychology. Nurturing is something that is incredibly important to me. I nurture others because I don't want anyone to feel alone or unsupported.

But, sometimes I forget to nurture myself.

I used to believe that taking care of others involved sacrifice. This kind of sacrifice was my own energy and self-care. I lived under the belief that by pulling away and taking care of myself, I would be labeled as selfish. So, I kept on nurturing others around me.

Until I broke down.

I was giving so much support and care to others, that I had forgotten about me. I am also a very important person in my life. My relationship with myself is incredibly important, and I had forgotten that. I was so focused on pouring love and care to others, that I had forgotten to water myself with those same sustaining forces. I was getting drained and worn out from nurturing and giving love to so many people around me because I was neglecting myself.

When I realized what was happening, I finally understood: Love is not starvation. I do not need to starve myself in order to feed others. I do not need to neglect my self-care in order to care for and give love to the people around me. Nurturing others does not equate to neglecting myself. Because, once I neglect myself, I end up not being able to show up fully for the people in my life.

I read a quote by an influencer named Allie Michelle. Michelle said:

"Taking care of yourself is selfless. An empty well cannot give water to a village."

When I read this, it was as if my eyes developed clearer vision. I recognized that I believed that self-care was selfish when actually it is one of the most selfless things I can ever do for this world. When I am able to take care of myself, I am at a healthier and stable position to give care to others. When I give from a place of lack, I end up lacking more. Giving my energy to others when I am in desperate need of recharging my own energy will end up making me feel emptier. It is like the good analogy from Michelle's quote. I cannot give from an empty source. When I forget to give love and care to myself, I reach a point where there is nothing left to give to others, because I haven't maintained a solid foundation for myself.

Giving care to others should be a fulfilling experience, not a draining one. In order for it to be a fulfilling experience, I need to make sure I am not giving from a place of emptiness. I need to nurture myself because doing so will give me a stable foundation. So, I finally understand the key to nurturing others: making sure I am nurturing myself first.

So, what now?

I am going to continue giving love and care to others. But this time, I am going to make sure I am nurturing myself too.

I hope you nurture yourself too. You are worthy of the love and care you give to others.

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