“How do I measure up? Why do other artists seem to get breaks and I don’t? I see other artists’ work, I read their bios and I can’t compete with that much talent and experience! I work so hard and I do everything I’m supposed to do and I don’t seem to get anywhere, sell anything! Am I fooling myself? Am I missing something? Am I not good enough? Should I just give up?”
This is a slippery slope. In the course of 20 seconds a person can think himself to destruction through comparison. It’s true in all parts of living - our work, our relationships ...
To compare work, friendships, lifestyle and only see how we don’t measure up is misuse of such a good tool. I have surely done it! Every single time I felt self-doubt or irritation and even resentment while comparing myself to someone else, it has been because I was feeling insecure - about my looks, my artistry, my personal relationships .... I wasn’t feeling as successful as others, or as desirable and of course “that MUST be why I wasn’t the one chosen” ... When I begin to hear those thoughts stirring in my head, it’s not about the rest of the world, it’s about Me.
The good news is that when it’s about Me, I can do something about it. I can practice more, I can stick to my resolutions, I can look at what I HAVE done well and feel good about those things! There are countless ways to move out of the mindset that sabotages and paralyzes me, and into a more receptive place. When those negative thoughts surface, it’s a clue and if I can recognize them as a tap on the shoulder, a reminder to see the situation as it is, and stop making up stories about “how it could be if only” and “what might have been”.
Everyone is in different stages of development. We have to start somewhere. I have started in a million different places and with varying attitudes. ALL of them served me well - either moving me backward to learn a lesson one more time or moving me forward to a new and challenging level.
To compare in a healthy way, I have to first be clear about myself - I have to be honest with myself, grateful I have come this far, feeling the good parts of me while embracing the fact that I am constantly a work in progress! When I am in this good place, I can be more of an observer, more objective - and I can compare and see that I am further along than some and have more roads to travel toward where I’d like to be.
Compare and let what you are seeing and feeling teach you, inspire you! Let it wash over you and cause you to go back to the work table and make/be even more than you were before the comparison. Time to soar!