Standing at my kitchen sink, I washed the one dish ten times over. Yet, the pile of dirty breakfast dishes remained untouched. I stood there, hands immersed in the lukewarm, soapy water, turning the sponge on the now spotless plate. With the sound of cartoon shows blaring and two little boys fighting over which channel to watch, my mind shut out the noise and with clarity all I could hear was “you are not good enough.”
It is the same mantra, repeating itself over.
I get the thrill and exhilaration of thinking of a new blog post idea, only to dismiss it immediately, once I have read two or three blog posts from other writers that are so much better than my little idea.
I lie awake at night with excitement redesigning my blog, changing fonts and colours in my head, only to have that excitement fizzle the moment I see a new blog redesigned and looking so much better than mine ever will.
I plan and organise elaborate birthday parties for my boys, only to feel inferior the moment I open Pinterest and my screen is a cascade of pin after pin of picture perfect birthday parties.
Ideas for novels, deflated before they even have air. Plans to start exercising and eating better, traded in for feelings of remorse before I even slide into my trainers. There are so many moments of possibility which are quenched by the simple act of comparison.
At a conference recently, an opening slide went up “comparison is the thief of joy” and in that instance it became the antidote to the manic, negative voice from within.
I spend all day, whether it be conscious or not, comparing myself. Comparing my own life to Facebook updates, tweets, instagrams with no filter, glossy magazines and books lined up in bookstores. I even compare myself to the lady walking down the street.
It has to stop.
I am certain that Spiderman never hung his head in shame, that Batman had a sidekick and he didn’t. Snow White never felt inferior that she was a brunette and all the other princesses were blondes.
Comparing myself to others is like being in a constant state of facing backwards and yet, trying to walk forward. The key is to turn around, stand up straight, shoulders back, take a deep breath and always stride forward.
I will write the blog post.
I will write the novel.
I will wear the dress.
I am going to go for that run.
When I constantly compare myself to others, I am only dragging myself down. There are no goal posts. No finish line. There will be no medal ceremony at the end.
Life, blogging, writing these are all dynamic and fluid. We each have our own creativity and our own individual perspective. I need to start having more respect for mine.
Is comparison the thief of your joy?