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Photo by Jeremy Bishop

Last week I spoke to the Year 8 students at Melbourne Girls’ College where I spoke about the importance of self-love, believing in yourself and creating a supportive environment. This made me reflect on how we, as adults, behave in the workplace, and life in general, when it comes to supporting the people around us.

I spoke on the importance of supporting and encouraging each other while we chase our dreams. That we all have different aspirations, we will be motivated by different elements and our own journey will be different, so instead of knocking people down, let’s build them up, cheer for them and stop seeing each other as competition. Then I thought about my own life.

Until a few years ago, I was guilty of being selective about who I chose to encourage and who I would secretly hope wouldn’t succeed. Which is disgusting I know... but that’s the truth.

Why was I like that?

Why did I feel this way?

What was the reason I didn’t want to encourage everyone?

What was the reason I was competing with people in my head?

My own insecurities. The demons I hadn’t dealt with and the limiting beliefs I held.

My limiting beliefs were based around not being good enough, not deserving the life I secretly wanted and being a disappointment. This meant that when I saw some people in my life doing something I wanted or seeming to be ‘better’ than me, I got jealous. It’s as simple as that (although it certainly wasn’t that simple to work out or accept). I found myself wanting them to fail, or not be amazing, because I thought if they weren’t ‘better’ than me, I would feel better about myself.

Don’t get me wrong, there were people in my life I was absolutely cheering on and wanted nothing but the best for; but for some reason, there were a select few that I couldn’t move past. What made them different? Was it their personalities? Was it the way they carried themselves? Was it that they wanted similar things to me? Who knows – I actually have no idea.

These toxic internal thoughts developed because I chose to ignore the issues in my life for so long. I did this because I was brought up in a ‘don’t talk about your problems, we just deal with them’ environment. I didn’t want to be seen as ‘weak’, but I also wasn’t ready for the world to see me for who I really was, because I was so petrified of people judging me. I cared far too much about what people thought of me and didn’t want to be bullied again. I’d had enough of that for one lifetime.

When I reached breaking point, I finally realised I had to deal with the black clouds that had been hanging over me. I couldn’t live how I was living any longer. What I didn’t know (or even think about), was that in dealing with my issues, I stopped competing with people in my life, stopped worrying about what everyone else was doing and began to