Yesterday was a down in the dumps kind of day.
I was tired. We returned earlier in the week from our travels and hit the ground running.
I felt overwhelmed. My last few days have been engulfed by piles of laundry, chores, work, errands, packing lunches, and scraping together dinners.
I also personally committed to myself (and you) that I would post at least once a week on this blog. But a crazy road trip + daily responsibilities left me with a bad case of writer’s block. I stared at a blank screen more times this week than I want to admit.
So naturally, I did what any tired and overwhelmed writer would do.
I looked at her blog. You know the one.
The blog with the snazzy logo. The perfectly organized layout. Full of witty posts and relevant topics. The blog with a bazillion likes that everybody knows about. You know, the one she gets paid for. I imagine her at her (perfectly organized) desk gleefully cranking out 10 brilliant freebies a week without even breaking a mental sweat (something I can only dream, about).
Somewhere between her snazzy logo and midnight madness, I got moody.
I got downright depressed. In one swooping moment, my thoughts went down the drain, sucking my emotions in with it.
In that moment, I psychoanalyzed my own work and gave myself an F for failure. Suddenly, all my efforts felt in vain. No longer was I good enough, creative enough, fast enough, witty enough, relevant or professional enough.
When someone’s success makes us depressed, there’s a problem.
Instead of being inspired by her success, I felt inferior. Sad. Discouraged. Overwhelmed. Behind.
Like, maybe I should just cut my losses early and save myself some time. After all, who can keep up with the ever-growing, fast-paced blogging community with its social media omnipresence and brilliant advertising?
Truth be told, I had a bad case of the blogging blues.
And if you are a writer, chances are you’ve had them too.
hours a whole day prying myself from the deadly grip of the comparison trap.
Because if I’m not careful, comparison will destroy me.
And it’ll destroy you too.
A heart at peace gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot. Proverbs 14:30
At the root of comparison there is discontentment and envy. When we’re not satisfied with our own yard, we’ll be tempted to peek over the fence at the neighbors. And what we see will either puff us up with pride or weigh us down with insecurity.
Contentment is a sure-fire way to guard yourself against falling into the comparison trap. When we are satisfied with our own path, purpose, and progress, we experience joy and peace as a result.
So how do we avoid the blogging blues? Here are 3 ways to stay content and avoid the comparison trap.
1. Focus on your own goals (because comparison will distract you).
A horse wears blinders for a reason. It gives him the opportunity to focus on where he is going while tuning out everything else around him.
Stay focused on your own stuff. Never mind that her post just went viral. Don’t allow the success of others to distract you from your own purpose. Remind yourself where you are going and why you started in the first place.
2. Set your own pace (because comparison will slow you down).
When you’re running a race, you focus on what’s right in front of you. Looking around at all the other runners while you are running is going to slow you down and probably trip you up.
Set your own pace. Trying to run the same speed as everyone else will wear you out. The goal is to run with endurance. Pacing yourself is what will get you to the finish line.
3. Embrace your own story (because comparison will sabotage it).
God has equipped each of us with a unique set of talents, gifts, quirks, and experiences. Each of us has a unique story to tell and purpose to fulfill.
But when we compare, we essentially tell ourselves that we must be the same as everyone else. In doing so, we undermine our unique story and devalue the work God is doing in our own lives.
But God has something different planned for each one of us. Instead of fitting the mold or feeling inferior, embrace the story God is writing for you. You can trust that at the right time, He will prepare you and bring the audience who needs to hear what only you can say.
Want the ultimate cure for comparison? Do this…
When we fall into the comparison trap, our entire view of others becomes tainted. We make frenemies. We develop this love-hate relationship where we admire and envy others at the same time.
Serving them is the ultimate way to guard against envying them. It’s hard to be jealous of someone you are serving or something you helped make successful.
When we stop comparing, it frees us to love those around us. I have discovered that the greatest joy is found in partnering with other like-minded people! Together we can grow stronger and reach farther.
If you want to cure those blogging blues, then stay focused. Set your own pace. Embrace the story God is writing for you. And most importantly, see others as friends you can serve and help springboard to success. Choose to partner with those around you instead of competing against them!
Cure the comparison blues by learning to be content with what you have and where you are at right now. When we are content with our own path, purpose, and progress, we can enjoy the present and embrace the future.