One thing that I know all of us creative types deal with is moments of self-doubt and feeling like our work isn't good enough. (I should note that feelings of inadequacy aren't limited to just creative people...most people struggle with these feelings too.) These feelings are something that I have always struggled with, and although I don't expect them to disappear anytime soon (or at all, honestly), I have been working on recognizing what sets me off into a downward spiral of self-loathing and hating my work. The biggest offender? Comparison. Let me elaborate...
I spend a lot of time on visual image sites and apps like Pinterest and Instagram (probably too much time). I love looking at and following the work of other artists and designers. I love seeing what other people are creating. However, I have realized that in looking for inspiration from others that I have actually been falling into the comparison trap. Maybe this has been happening to you, too. There is a fine line between inspiration and comparison, but each of them make me feel completely different.
Inspiration makes me feel joy. Comparison makes me feel unhappy.
Inspiration makes me feel excited about creating. Comparison makes me feel like I should give up.
Inspiration makes me feel happy for the other person's success. Comparison makes me feel envious and causes me to wonder why I'm not as successful.
Inspiration allows me to bring new elements into my own work and to try new things. Comparison makes me feel like I should be creating work that looks like the work of others.
Inspiration tells you anything is possible. Comparison tells you everything is impossible. -Jon Acuff
See the difference? The next time you are scrolling through social media or the internet, ask yourself, "How is this making me feel?". Are you feeling inspired and uplifted? Or are you doubting your own creative work or life journey? It's a struggle, believe me. Learning to recognize when I'm starting to feel bad has helped me start to learn to turn away from the things that cause me to fall into the comparison trap and focus on my own art. In reality, it doesn't matter what others are doing. It matters what you are doing. And what you're doing is perfect for you.