Do you sometimes compare yourself to others?
Lately I have heard a great deal of talk about how we compare ourselves to others and how difficult that can be for us. Artists and makers especially it seems compare their work and success and to that of others. The general thought is that social media has made this "comparisonitis" more pervasive.
Having had the advantage of living before social media was even imagined I know that the idea of comparing yourself to others is nothing new. What about the old saying , "Keeping up with the Jones?" Weren't we always looking at our neighbours and wondering if we should have that too?
The common perception is that we see more of other people's lives now and further afield because of facebook and instagram. While this is true, I have to say the idea of wanting what the other one has is not new. It is as old as time. Once we were two here on this earth we were looking at the other and wondering.
There is lots of advice about there about this problem. Maybe you don't have it. Good. But honestly sometimes I do. I sometimes turn off the feeds of perfectly good and wonderful people that I enjoy because their feed makes me think I too should be sipping champagne in sidewalk cafes. Not watching just lets me come back to myself.
And here is what I think about comparing yourself to others. There is no cure for this. It is part of the fact that we are human. Our eyes like to see, our hearts like to feel, our brain likes to compare, judge and evaluate. We are lucky to have all these things. They are immense gifts. Like all amazing gifts they can come with a cost to the one who receives them.
So I do not worry that at times I compare myself to others. I know I will because I have these deeply abiding gifts that make me who I am. I accept this. I don't think there is a cure. I accept the condition.
I have though found an antidote. When I feel this I think about my values. I list them off it my head. I could even write them down on paper. But I remind myself of the core things that are important to me when I start to wonder if I should be more like another person. Knowing what's important to me and being certain of it, while somehow still leaving room to grow and change, this is what I want for my life.
Knowing your own core values and staying true to them is the antidote for "comparisonitis". What have you chosen for your life? What have you made important? What has life given to you? These are the questions I ask myself.
So if I watch another person grow or do great things and if it fits in with my core values then sometimes I will move towards their thoughts or ideas. This has lead me to some growth. Comparing yourself to others is not all bad. Sometimes It is a catalyst for good.
When you do know what you believe and what matters to you, no matter what is going on over the fence, or down the road, or on facebook, you can always come back to yourself. You can find your own story and " bring it on home to you."
Blessings, and thanks for reading.
PS. I just brought in some Noro Wools. I wanted to bring something new to my rugs to my rugs. I like adding new materials. It takes me to new places in my work.
- Tags: Sunday letters
- Angela Davis