How do you stop comparing yourself to other creatives?


A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it, it just blooms. – Zen Shin

As creatives, we have days where we are on top of the moon… a feeling most of us have experienced… the highest-high, a spirited reminder of why you dedicated so much sacrifice into pursuing your passion.  These moments could range from a new opportunity you’ve been working towards, a promising meeting, or the release of a project you’ve slaved over for months or years. Then we have the lows. The days where we go dark. We look at what others are doing around us and feel like we’re not doing enough or that we are not good enough.  Why aren’t we as pretty as that person, able to set free in performance like the other…book the audition…have the financial investment…. the list goes on and on. It can be a downward spiral that leaves us feeling bad about ourselves. What can we do when we notice ourselves feeling this way?

Here are some tips to pull you out and keep you grounded.

  1. Pay attention to situations where you feel triggered.

Simply being aware of moments and situations which cause you to start comparing yourself to others can keep you from spiraling into that place. Are there certain activities, locations, or people that consistently make you feel bad about your life, when you were feeling just fine before? Social media is a big trigger for most and watching the highlight reel of someone else’s creative success can fuel some negative inner comparisons.

  1. Bring into light when you are feeling vulnerable and upset.

Comparison is part of human nature. As social beings, we desire to fit in and be accepted and validated for our strengths. Acknowledge that you are feeling vulnerable and imperfect, and that you are allowed to feel the way you do.  Send yourself love, kindness and compassion for being human and imperfect. We are often so critical of ourselves. Soften your inner dialogue and give yourself some love and kind thoughts.

  1. Things are not always as they seem

We live in a strange world where we can fabricate our own perfect world through social media. It leads us to mistake the reality of someone’s life based on what we only see from the outside. Seeing the engagement photos or the career achievements of others may make it seem like everyone around you has everything figured out. Of course people aren’t posting about their loneliness, failures, cheating spouse, etc. (at least these posts are not as common)! Realize that you’re just seeing a snapshot into their lives and unless you’re really close to someone, you don’t know what is going on behind closed doors.

  1. Count Your Blessings and Remind yourself you are good enough

Make a conscious effort to reflect on what is good in your life, right now. There is a lot! Remind yourself daily. Also, remind yourself that you are good enough. Nobody is perfect carrying the burden of perfection is tiresome.

You have great things. You’re on your way. You are good enough.

-Anahita Kashefi, M.S. is a Los Angeles-based Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who specializes in relationships and creative issues.

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