I’ve got a confession: I am constantly comparing myself to others.

Sometimes it’s a good thing. Like “Hey, look at how she loves her body. My body is like that, I can love it too!”

or

“Wow, that’s a great journaling technique she’s doing over there. I should try it out for myself.”

But often times it looks more like this:

“WTF is wrong with me I suck OMG I can’t believe I don’t look like that and why is her art better than mine and she’s not nearly as good of a writer as me so why does she have a best-selling novel and wow I wish I had that much money to get Gucci pants too but they don’t make them in my size anyways and everyone sucks and I hate life.”

Have you ever felt this way? I’m gonna guess the answer is yes.

Comparison is a natural part of life. It’s how we survived being primates. And it’s totally normal to have that cycle go on and on and on in your head pointing out all the differences between you and others.

It’s normal. But it’s not helpful. Especially as a Creative.

Last week, my niece and I started collaborating on a series of short illustrated stories.

When we finished, I sent them to my friend with a text that said “my niece is a better artist than me and she’s 10.”

She wrote back this wonderful piece of advice:Art is about so many things, but “better than someone else” is not one of them. Jenn Leyva, friend, femme, and smarty pants

And wow. If that isn’t a nugget of truth, I don’t know what is.

I don’t sit and compare DaVinci’s value to Picasso. Even people who try to put a price on art can’t tell you which master is more valuable.

In my home, we have paintings by my grandfather up on the wall next to needlepoint pieces by my sister next to sketches my nieces made. None of them are masters, but all of them light me up with joy when I look at our wall.

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I would never compare my grandfather’s paintings to my sister’s needlepoint to my nieces’s sketches. So why, then, must I keep comparing myself to other writers?

Or worse, to my 10-year-old niece who is simply having fun making drawings with me?

Art is about so many things. Being “better” than someone else is not one of them.

That’s my new mantra. Something I’m going to paste on my wall every time I sit down to paint or write or cook or color.

Creating is enough when it comes to art.

All you have to do is create.

You don’t have to be good. You don’t have to be a master. And you definitely don’t have to be “better than” anyone else.

Especially your 10-year-old niece.

With lots of love and no comparisons or judgements,

Lauren

P.S. Try replacing “niece” with “your inner child” in this message and see how that feels to you.

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