This unscheduled post is the result of a moment that just happened, that I couldn’t help but share in case you’re feeling the same way. I was sitting here, minding my own business, plugging away on an assignment editing photos, when my Pandora switched to a new song. The tune was Colbie Caillat’s Try, and although I always tend to tear up when this song comes on because of its ultra powerful lyrics, I suddenly and completely broke down—we’re talking an ugly, near-sobbing cry.
The emotion took me totally by surprise (tears are literally still drying on my face as I type this), but it didn’t take long to realize where it all came from. The fact is that comparison has been eating me alive. Have I unintentionally stepped on someone’s toes with a project? Have I accidentally strayed too close to another person’s aesthetic? And, on a much larger scale, is my brand worth pouring my heart and soul and life into when everyone else is doing things much bigger and much better than me?
I am hounded by insecurities that make me question my ability to keep up in this business. Do they like me? Will they notice me? Will they work with me, trust my ability, or will I have to change to fit the “mold”? And, of course, on a personal level, do my friends think I’m pretentious every time I bring up what I have managed to accomplish? I hardly go out and I never bring up or celebrate my accomplishments with others for fear that my friends will smile, nod and then think, “Well, doesn’t she think she’s special. Give me a break.”
I know that these insecurities aren’t based on fact, and even just as I type this, I’m realizing that fear is often so much bigger than the truth. I know my friends don’t secretly hate me and I know that my work is a crusade worth the journey—but I also know that I can’t please everyone, and I hate (hate!) that more than anything. I just want to be liked. Do you ever feel this way? Even if you aren’t a blogger—maybe you’re a mom, a teacher, an accountant, a software creator or a student. Do you try so hard you feel like you’re going to break?
If you’re in a similar situation and feeling like the world is against you, and if that dreaded comparison game is murdering your joy, know that fear—at the heart of it all—is just an emotion. Reality is often so much brighter than the picture our worries and insecurities paint. Please, oh please, don’t let comparison be the thief of your joy.
Look in the mirror. Do you like you? Try…
(calligraphy stencil by Leen Jean Studios)
P.S. Don’t worry mom—I’m fine.