Becoming better is not about becoming better than other people.
It’s about becoming better than yourself. The purpose of self-improvement is to create future selves that are more capable and more fulfilled than your present self. The goal is not to out-compete your peers. The goal is freedom. Unlike a sapling competing for sunlight in a dense forest, your growth does not need to be – and should not be – a race.
It’s a common fallacy to see the advancement of one of your peers as a judgement on your lack of advancement: someone’s sobriety as a judgement on your drinking, someone’s meditation practice as a judgment of your lack of mindfulness, someone’s physical fitness as a judgement of your being out of shape, someone’s choice to read as a judgment of your choice to watch TV. But none of these things is a judgment of your life, of your choices, or of you. These are simply choices someone else has made for themselves.
The development of others has nothing to do with you. If someone else has chosen to improve, good for them. Their actions are not because of you, they are not directed at you, and they say nothing about you. If you see their advancement as a judgement of your life, then you’re insecure. The only real judgment isn’t coming from the other person – it’s coming from you.
Give yourself permission to be human and be kind to yourself. If you’re truly unhappy with where you are, get to work. Stop comparing yourself to others and keep your eyes on the process. Remember that you, too, have an incredible human potential.
It isn’t your job to be better than anyone else or even keep up with them. Your only job is to try to be slightly better today than you were yesterday, to make sure that you’re better this year than you were last year. The point of self-improvement is to be become better than yourself.