Death by Comparison
So I've been frustrated for the longest time because I had no idea what to write a blog post about. Well, actually, I had many ideas that swirled around in my head but it was daunting to pick one of those ideas and start to unpack it. Most of the time I found myself reading other blog posts and this almost always resulted in me feeling quite demotivated because, well, I feel like I can't write like these people! I'm just not as good! I can't possibly have something to say that readers would want to hear.
After a long while I started to notice a pattern in my life. These questions started featuring a lot more, but in almost everything I did.
I found myself thinking that my photography style was bad compared to a certain "professional photographer". Whether it was work , my photography, or even simple things like cooking a meal - I would always find myself saying "it's just not as good as when this person and that person did it "
This made me realize that one of the easiest ways to feel bad about oneself is to compare yourself to others. Well, even if you do compare yourself against someone with unfavorable circumstances - all it might achieve is a momentary boost in your personal ego.
Most of us do it. We compare almost every aspect of our lives. Job titles, income, social following, successful businesses, free time, attitude about life, and physical fitness. Us as creatives especially, we compare our art ,our designs ,our music.
But could you imagine if someone like Stevie Wonder or Vincent van Gogh didn't go into music or art because they kept comparing himself to other musicians and artists out there?
We compare all these things on a daily basis and if we aren't careful, comparing ourselves to others on some of these factors can potentially strip us of contentment with who we are and what we are good at. I found that in comparing myself and everything I do to others, I was also sowing a seed of fear in my heart. I was fearful to do anything because it wouldn't be good enough and then I read this quote by Mark Twain:
"Comparison Is the Thief of Joy”
And then, I thought long and hard about it.
The point is, we all have a unique basket of skills, faults, and blessings that make us who we are and comparing ourselves to others simply removes focus from what we should be excited about within ourselves and it steals our joy.
Now, I don't think comparison is completely bad. Sometimes we need healthy comparison to fuel us. If you feel stuck in your life, and someone else is doing something you wish you could do, making an admiration-based comparison can be a good way to motivate yourself to take action. Sometimes it can fire you up and inspire you, it can teach you things and make you feel more grateful.
Leading our comparisons in the right direction — away from envy, pride, and self-pity, and towards self improvement will transform us and unearth our true authenticity!
Here's something for you to remember: "Every minute you spend wishing you had someone else’s life is a minute spent wasting yours" - Unknown