The thought for the day in my Devotional Day Planner says this:
Do your own work well,
and then you will have something to be proud of.
But don’t compare yourself with others. (CEV)
Then this thought is tagged on:
When you take responsibility for your spiritual direction, you grow. When you spend your time comparing your growth with someone else’s, you stop growing. Take pride in who God created you to be. How would you describe your growth – spiritually speaking?
I’ve been ‘chewing’ on this since I read it. And its timely – seems every which way I turn, this very subject was on the tip of my conscience to blog about. Have you ever worked so very hard on something, and then you just get to a point where you feel you have turned out your best work and so you’re excited to share. You feel confident and have a deep sense of accomplishment. Then you look around. And you see that though your best is GOOD – its not THE BEST, and you know your work may NEVER be THE BEST.
It’s so easy to lose hope and perspective at this point. If you focus on how your work is COMPARED TO OTHERS then you will lose all sense of objectivity and your work will suffer if you don’t get yourself in check. I think this is normal. One time, I showed an artist friend, a video of Akiane Kramarik – the young artist who, at 12 years old, can paint probably better than I ever could in my life. When I showed my friend the talent this impressive young lady has, my friend did not respond as anyone else I’d shown. Mixed in with her awe, which was the normal reaction, was a sense of complete disappointment. She said that after seeing what this mere child could do, it took away her desire to paint.
Wow – I had not thought about the possibility of this happening. But really, I can empathize. I know as an artist, I go through both the highs and lows. When I’m in a creative high, I can do ANYTHING – the creativity just flows, but watch out when I hit a low. All it takes is for one negative critique, and I’m ready to toss the brushes!
The funny thing is that when I create, just for the love of creating, I enjoy the process as much as the outcome. And what’s more interesting is the works that I created in love, and enjoyed making, though they may not be what I would consider my ‘BEST WORK’ are usually the ones that seem to ‘sell’. See, when you compare yourself to others, you will ALWAYS fall short.
If you compare yourself to others, you will be discouraged from reaching your potential. If I compare myself to others I may as well not run a race-I am definitely not fast enough to ever ‘win. I won’t sing – boy, I would not even make a karaoke song sound good, I would not design – every time I see other’s designs I feel so unworthy to be included to create!
This does not mean I don’t beat myself up – I’m guilty too, but being reminded by a scripture such as this is good for me. What about you, do you beat yourself up too? What about?
Whenever I have found that I have blundered or that my work has been imperfect, and when I have been contemptuously criticised and even when I have been overpraised, so that I have felt mortified, it has been my greatest comfort to say hundreds of times to myself that ‘I have worked as hard and as well as I could, and no man can do more than this.’