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September 25, 2013

Thoughts on comparing


Don’t compare. Don’t compare. Don’t compare.

This is something I feel like I’m telling myself all the time lately. With everything. I don’t want to do it, but it seems as though I can’t help myself. I start to write something in this little space of mine, and I frown at the photos, or I wonder if what I’m writing about is really all that important. And then it never goes live. I scroll through Pinterest for inspiration and feel overwhelmed by other pinners’ talent and creativity. I look at the art I’ve created, and think, but look at everything Anna makes! (She is so amazing, you know?!) Even in my personal life, I’m constantly comparing myself to others. I’m not thin enough. I wish I had better skin. It’s taking me forever to get pregnant. The comparisons are never-ending. But in this world of always-positive Facebook posts and styled photos, it’s hard not to compare, right?

And if I’m going to be dead honest -- some days I don’t really feel like being upbeat and chipper and pretending like nothing is wrong. I feel like maybe that’s why I’ve been avoiding this space a little bit, even though the main reason really is that I have just been so busy with work-related projects that I haven’t had too much creativity left over for this corner of my world. But I kind of feel like posting happy things isn’t always a true portrayal of how I feel inside, so I just don’t post anything at all. What a drag.

I found this little gem on the Web a while ago, and every time I feel like I’m not good enough, I remember these words:

The things you take for granted, someone else is praying for.

Isn’t that the truth? It’s human to compare -- I know that. There’s always going to be someone who has more than you or who’s more successful than you. And some people seem to truly have it all -- and so easily. Not only is that probably not true, but it’s important to remember everything in your life that’s wonderful and special, too. Your health. Your friends. Your family. Your significant other. The job you have and the roof over your head.  If you dig deep enough, no matter how hard or bleak life feels, there are things to be thankful for.

I made this list the other day to remind myself of everything that's awesome in my life, and now I’ll think of it in addition to those wise words above whenever I feel like I’m floundering.
  1. James. He is truly the most important person in my life -- my cheerleader and my best friend. I hit the jackpot with this one, and I never forget it.
  2. My family. I have the most loving and supportive parents and little brother. I’m so thankful for them.
  3. My friends. Even though we’re spread out all over the US (and the world!), I cherish the times I get to see those who are furthest away, usually once or twice a year. And of course, thank goodness for the friends I have who live close by.
  4. My health. As of now, I seem to be healthy and kickin’ and full of life. We are seeing a fertility specialist next month, and I’m so nervous about it. I’m half hoping all tests still turn up nothing, but also hoping they can find what the hell is going on and fix it. Only time will tell.
  5. My job, which just happens to also be something I love. Not too many people can say that, so I feel lucky to do something I’m passionate about. And even though I compare myself to the crazy talented people who are out there in the art world, what good is that doing me? Nothing. That old saying, comparison is the thief of joy comes to mind. It really is stealing my joy, so I’m going to try to stop it. Really. 
When I read through this list, I think, seriously? How lucky are you?! Life isn’t always picture-perfect, even though Facebook statuses and lovely Instagram feeds might make me think otherwise sometimes. And life certainly doesn’t always pan out quite like you hoped or planned. But every day is truly a gift, and I have to remember to focus on the good -- the great! -- and not the bad.

I suddenly felt like dumping this all out on paper here this morning, so thanks for indulging me. Even when I’m not feeling super creative and chipper and upbeat, I can always count on this space and community to make me feel better. Officially declaring it the next thing on my list. (Well, I guess Bianca the cat is #6. But this blog and y’all are definitely #7.)

Truly OK with it all…most of the time…(just being honest) -- Natty


Background illustration by Georgiana Paraschiv; quote from Torrie Asai via The Well

10 comments:

  1. Natty, Thank you for being so honest on your blog! It is so refreshing to hear because all of us feel this way sometimes. You are not alone in your thoughts! It is difficult to be happy in our own skins and it takes time and age, unfortuantely, to realize our true worth sometimes. : )

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    1. Thanks for your sweet words, Jessica! You are so right that we grow into our own skins slowly but surely. I feel like I'm there some days, then others I feel like I've taken 10 steps back. I'm a work in progress! ;) xo

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  2. Your post is coming at such a good time for me. This is exactly how I've been feeling as well. It's so hard not to compare our lives to the "highlight reels" of our friends posted all over the internet.

    I just recently discovered your page and I fell in love with your online shop. Thank you so much for sharing how you feel. You are certainly not alone!

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    1. Thank you for your kind words! I feel so much better knowing that others feel the same way I do from time to time...

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  3. Love this post! Its easy to forget what you have when you see what other people have. We live in a crazy, fragile time, no generation before us has had the tools we have for comparison, so we have no idea how to cope.

    My best friend and her husband struggled to get pregnant for almost two years and they just welcomed their little girl into the world last week, there is always hope! I will be praying for you.

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    1. Thanks so much, friend :) xoxo

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  4. I come to your site everyday and am so impressed by how far (and awesome) your site has become in the last two years I have been following your work. You are an inspiration to many (like me) and I think it's great that you can be honest about your challenges. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thank you so much, Heather! Your comment really made my day.

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  5. i seriously can't even be bothered to read blogs that are all happy all the time any more. i don't buy it and it's honestly not nearly as interesting or relatable. putting something pretty out into the world is a great thing, but putting something real out there is no less beautiful :)

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    1. I couldn't agree with you more. I KNOW that the "perfect" bloggers out there have their faults and bad days, but I wish they'd express them more often. Appearing to be so happy and positive and "perfect" all the time makes the rest of us feel like we're doing something wrong. It's crazy but true. As always, thanks for your support, Nicole :)

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