Blogger: Rachelle Gardner
I had an interesting revelation recently, regarding the topic of comparison. I was going to meet someone I hadn’t met before, at their house, and I was nervous. Will their house be more beautiful than mine? Will it be bigger and will they have better furniture? Will I be intimidated?
I was nervous about meeting this woman, the wife of my husband’s friend. Surely she will be prettier than me… skinnier than me… much, much cooler than me. And of course she’ll wear better clothes.
Why I get caught up in these mind games, I’m not sure. When I think this way, I am at my worst ― insecure, timid. Self-focused rather than compassionate.
When I actually met these people, they were great. And the futility and ugliness of comparison whacked me upside the head. I realized how comparing takes away the humanity and uniqueness of others. It makes me see them only in light of how they compare to me.
Comparison has two possible results: either puffed-up pride if I compare favorably, or insecurity and ingratitude if I come up short.
The act of comparing also puts us in the position of being “judge.” In order to compare, we must make a detailed assessment and judgment of another’s worth, then decide where we stand by contrast.
Comparison is normal, but we have to fight it. Those of us in publishing are especially susceptible, since there are so many others with whom to compare ourselves! Why did that writer get a publishing contract when I still haven’t? How did that other agent snag the writer I’ve been pursuing? How come other authors seem to have better marketing / higher sales / more blog hits / whatever?
There will always be someone richer than me and always someone poorer. Some people have bigger houses than mine, some smaller. Some people have published more books than I have, others none at all. Some people get more blog hits than I do, some get fewer. Futile, ridiculous, pointless… and dangerous. That’s what comparison is.
I’m trying to remember that life isn’t graded on a curve, that I don’t have to measure myself against anyone else’s success. I can look at others for who they are, and leave myself out of the equation. Learning from others is fine and useful, but comparing is not.
I have to set my own yardstick for creating a meaningful life, for finding my purpose, for fulfilling my dreams. Only then will I be free to claim my life as my own; to own every success and every failure; and to live free of comparison.
Have you ever struggled with comparison in your writing life? How do you deal with it?
Life isn’t graded on a curve – and other thoughts on comparison. Click to tweet.
Ever think about how comparing ourselves to others deprives them of their humanity and uniqueness? Click to tweet.
Comparison has two possible results: either puffed-up pride or insecurity and ingratitude. Click to tweet.