Most of my days, I am a joyfully focused human being.
Most of my days, I’m singing while I’m trying a new recipe or playing with my curiosity through a new creative dabble.
Most of my days, I am inspired to share my own dabbling journey – inspirational quotes I come across and bits of wisdom I’ve acquired along the way.
Most of my days, I have the fuel of my passions and deep confidence in my work. I feel proud of what I’ve created, as imperfect as it is, and deeply connected to the community of people it touches.
But sometimes…I have other kinds of days.
Days where I go on a social media bender and get sucked into my newsfeeds comparing other people’s highlight reels to my behind-the-scenes all access pass.
Days where I stare at the cursor on my screen willing something to come out but can only feel the overwhelm and pressure of trying to be better than the epic newsletter I just read in my inbox.
Days where I walk down the street with a messy bun and yoga pants past the woman in the breezy french dress and beautifully braided hair and feel my head and spirits begin to wilt.
I have thoughts like, “There are so many brilliant, vibrant creative women sharing their voices out in the world right now. Is there really room for one more?”
On those days, I spiral into the dreaded COMPARISON, and it’s really hard to get myself out of it.
Comparison can reveal itself in small ways like the sting of seeing someone else’s instagram photo of their gorgeous, european vacation to stopping you in your tracks from creating and launching your next big project because you saw someone else doing it “better.”
Instead of looking at people to share their wisdom and knowledge as inspiration, comparison shows up as holding yourself up against them and look for all that you lack.
Big or small, comparison is a huge de-motivator for your own expansion and growth as a human being. Comparison kills creativity.
Illustration by Aimee Sicuro
Here’s how I deal with comparison when it comes up…
1. I remind myself that I’m feeding off of an illusion.
Comparison is never a representation of what’s real and true. It’s creating a story about how you aren’t good enough based off a false reality. I close my eyes, take a deep breath, and say to myself, “what is true about this, love?” It helps snap me out of my pattern of negative beliefs and helps to get me back on track.
2. I invite myself to see what’s stirring inside me and send it love.
When you are intimidated by another person’s success, you are actually recognizing the desire and potential for that within yourself. So I am feeling stirrings of comparison or envy, I take a curious look at what that characteristic is.
“Just as much as we see in others, we have in ourselves.” ~William Hazlitt
And then I turn my “compare and despair” into “admire and inspire.”
I send that longing within myself (and the person I’m seeing it reflected in) so much love and compassion and pure admiration. I drop into an appreciative mindset.
3. I create the conditions to lessen comparison.
In other words, I consciously put my blinders on and focus on my own sh*t.
This includes putting myself in environments that lessen comparison and feel more inclusive. A big part of this is limiting my social media time. I’ve installed the news feed eradicator chrome plugin to make my facebook homepage less triggering and distracting. I’ve also removed all social media from the home screen on my phone.
And then, I get to work on what inspires and lights me up – not based on what anyone else is doing. And the less I see what other people are doing, the more I can connect to what my own creative wisdom wants to express.
This is where dabbling is your friend, sister.
To loosen my own high expectations of my driven self, I take bite-sized baby steps to shake off the comparison hangover and get back into my own creative flow.
What about you?
How do you deal with comparison in your life and work? I’d love to know in the comments below!