Hey Steph,

You’re going to say I’m imagining things but ALL of my friends are smarter than me. Literally ALL of them. I got the lowest grades in my subjects compared to them (except for Irish but that’s only because I went to a gaelscoil). They’re all going to sail through the JC and I’m going to fail. They don’t even study and I have to spend HOURS studying just to get a pass, I hate it! I know there’s nothing you can do but I just needed to tell someone…thanks.


Hello! Thanks so much for getting in touch, I’m glad you felt like sharing! 🙂 


Believe it or not, I hear this one quite often! It’s more common than you might think. Comparison is quite normal. Particularly in the teenage years but all throughout life too. We are programmed to compare ourselves to others – we do it to see how we’re doing in life. We look to others to find norms in the hopes that we fit into those norms. But sometimes, we don’t! And then our mind has to decide what that means and what it says about us and our abilities. 


We compare ourselves in all kinds of ways; appearance, ability, popularity, what we own, what we did at the weekend…and sometimes we can get fixated on ONE of these comparisons because our mind gets stuck in the “deciding what it means” bit. So, back to your sitch as an example – “All of my friends are smarter than me”. It sounds very factual doesn’t it – as if it’s the moral at the end of a story. But it’s not the whole truth. And here’s a couple of reasons why: 


1. Grades are just 1 thing

Your mind has decided to fixate on 1 thing. But we are more than 1 thing. We are more than 2 things, we’re more than 3 as well. We’re a whole collage of many, many things. And education, grades, or the ability to study, is just a fraction (pardon the pun!) of your story. Try to remember everything else about you; who you are, what you love, what makes you laugh, what your favourite colour is, what your favourite season is, what your favourite memory is…THOSE are the pieces of your whole collage. 


2. Irish, hello!

An do dhìochuimhnich thu mu Èireannaich? (thank you Google translate!) Did you notice the way you down-played Irish? You got a higher grade in Irish than any of your friends but you discounted it because you went to a Gaelscoil. Whether you went to a Gaelscoil or not, Irish is a strength of yours and you should be extremely proud of yourself for that! Don’t push that to the side because you’re not as happy about your other subjects. I bet your friends wish they were as good at Irish as you are! If you’re going to compare, compare it ALL! 😉 


3. Conclusions

“All of my friends are smarter than me”. That’s a very “full-stop” statement. It’s very matter-of-fact. Except that it’s not! It’s not a fact, and it’s not the whole truth. Your mind has convinced you that it is, but it isn’t. Some of your friends might be better at some subjects than you but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re smarter than you at everything. The same way that being better at Irish than them, doesn’t mean you’re smarter than them at everything. Try to keep an open mind and try not to make conclusions without remembering the whole story.


4. Work Hard

There might be some subjects that you have to work harder at. And that’s ok! We can’t be good at everything, and we’re not meant to be good at everything. We’re meant to struggle at some things, we’re meant to learn how to work harder for some things, that’s what makes us resilient and strong. If everything was easy, it would be pretty boring! So, figure out what subjects you’re struggling with, talk to your friends, your parents, and your teachers, and see what you need to do to get better at them. It could mean a couple of extra hours here and there. 


We’re all super proud of you here at SHONA, and can’t wait to hear how 3rd year goes for you. And if you’re ever giving Irish lessons, don’t forget us!



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