Social Comparison and Childhood Ping Pong Tournaments

Last week my husband started an online course in coding. As I listened in to the introductory portion of his class, I was so intimated by all the other participants—finance, researchers, startup founders—comparing myself (and, by extension, my loved ones) to others has always been a weakness of mine, and I’m still working on it!

I was frustrated with myself for giving in to my habitual inferiority complex. Then I remembered something from my childhood that perhaps would help me refresh my perspective. When I was around ten years old, I used to play ping pong with my neighbors. I most enjoyed playing with my neighbor who was two years older than me since it was challenging and therefore exciting—I had to try really hard to stay in the game! Later on when I thought about it, I felt a bit bad, thinking she must have been bored when she was playing with me, since I was not a challenging opponent, nor one of even equal skill level.

Pondering this childhood memory, I realized that my husband will certainly learn a lot from his online peers and all their experience.

Rather than be intimated, I can be grateful!

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