I frequently tell people that they shouldn’t compare themselves to others. I tell them that it’s irrational because skills and talents aren’t about how well you do compared to others it’s about how they make you feel.
I love taking photos and I’m nearly always pleased with the results so I’m happy with what I do. I look at the photos of other people and admire them but there’s always a niggle in the back of my mind that they’re better than me because they’ve done courses and/or understand the technical stuff. A lot of them know how to use Photoshop and it just confuses me so I use simple editing tools.
I beat myself up for not being able to take decent photos of landscapes but I’m very good at portraits and get under the skin of the people I take photos of and those shots always have the wow! factor. So why do I make meaningless comparisons especially when I’ve actually sold some of my photos to be used in books?
There is a tendency for me to tell people what I’ve done with my day and then qualify the statement by telling them for a lot of people what I’ve achieved is nothing but for me it’s an achievement. I think I do this because I feel a big need to explain invisible illness but I also need to tell myself I’m doing okay when I’m convinced that I’m not.
I’m going through a period of chronic poor mental health and it’s quite extreme in the impact it’s having on my life. One of the bigger effects is that it makes me feel as though I’ve lost everybody that I love. It’s irrational and not something I’ve ever admitted to in public. It’s irrational and absurd and I can’t stop it from happening.
When I find myself comparing myself I’m going to tell myself that it’s good to look at other people’s talents and admire them but it doesn’t make me a lesser anything because I have other talents. If I saw somebody with a shopping basket full of expensive goodies I wouldn’t necessarily compare them enviously with my modestly priced shopping if I enjoyed what I had in my basket would I?