Honestly, I don’t know how to start this, but once you get past this sentence, it will get better. I promise.
Something I’ve been dealing with for years now is comparing myself to other people. It semi-started when my YouTube channel was (and still is) slowly progressing. Then I really started having to deal with it when I started college. It’s not the kind of comparing where I think I’m superior like I’m all that and a bag of chips; it’s quite the opposite. I hardcore compliment people and often make myself feel like crap because “I’m not on their level.” That’s literally what I tell myself all the time, and even though I’m super confident with myself and love the crap out of myself, there are still moments where I don’t feel good enough, especially when I’m in classes for my major. One day, it was so bad that I started doodling in another class to get the negative words out of my head; that day was merely a month ago on November 14, 2018. This is what it ended up looking like in case you were wondering:
It’s hard having a creative major, especially one that requires constantly working in a studio with your classmates and upperclassmen and watching their fast progression with developing projects and ideas. Every time I walk into class and we start talking about what everyone’s plan is and what everyone has completed, there is an annoying urge to compare my work and my pace to everyone else’s; that urge wins most of the time, and I’m working on ignoring it. It’s hard.
One reason (because there are MANY) I will either barely pass or barely fail my studio class this semester is because of my constant comparing. Favoritism is another reason, but we’ll save that for another day because I have A LOT to say about that. Anyway, anytime I got trapped in the depths of my clogged mind and started comparing my work to everyone else’s in the class, all motivation went out the window. I would feel like absolute crap about my ideas and would stop working. Like, I would leave my desk in whatever state it was in and would watch a movie in the comfort of my uncomfortable bed before deciding to try to go to sleep. If the motivation loss happened in class, I would simply leave once the teacher is done lecturing instead of staying with everyone else and working. Losing motivation means slacking on projects, and slacking on projects means BSing the entire thing a few days before just to have something to turn in, which results in less than amazing grades.
What Comparing Does
- It accomplishes nothing for you. Simple as that. It doesn’t make what you’re doing or saying any better. If anything, it does the opposite; it prevents you from having accomplishments.
- It diminishes self-esteem, confidence, and even self-love. Whether it is comparing your creativity to someone else’s or simply comparing your thrifted men’s shirt to someone else’s thrifted men’s shirt, self-esteem and confidence are being diminished, whether it’s yours or the other person’s. Either way, negativity is being sewn and reaped.
- It causes a loss of motivation and drive. I’ve kind of discussed this when referring to my own personal battle with comparisons, so we’re going to stray away from me and use a different example. If there is someone with really bomb (in a good way) makeup skills, you could feel so bad about your own makeup capabilities that you simply stop trying to get better or stop wearing makeup. Don’t do that; makeup isn’t cheap, but I hope you get what I’m saying.
- It creates mediocre work. It’s that feeling of “well mine isn’t as good as hers, so why should I go the extra mile?” Mediocre work isn’t beneficial for anyone, especially you. This kind of goes back to #2.
Honestly, when I think about it, all of the above points are kind of the same, but they’re also valid. The four points listed above are what I tell myself to try to get out of that “I’m not good enough” mindset.
You may (or may not) be wondering how this post came to be. Well, today is December 9th, and I have to present a model I created in two days. Once I get that out of the way, I will be done with one of the worst semesters of my life (again, we’ll save that for another day), and I know the urge to compare will return, especially since there are some extremely talented people in my program.
Throughout the semester, I found it increasingly difficult to not compare my work to that of other people, and I’m going to try my hardest not to compare myself and my work with my peers when it comes time for the presentations in a couple of days. I literally won’t graduate if I don’t stop comparing myself to my classmates.
Moving forward, I saw this on Instagram and thought it semi-related and would be nice to include here. It’s from From Women Who Roar, an incredible literary magazine I hope to be able to afford one day.
I know this blog post was kind of focused on me potentially failing because I’m in a creative major where I constantly compare my creativity to my peers. However, I feel like it could apply to any situation and any circumstance, hence the inclusion of the above quote.
Stopping the comparisons is not an overnight task; it takes time but can and will be achieved.