I scroll through my news feed, pausing occasionally to read the brief or not so brief writing with a photo, laughing at some posts and shaking my head at others.
I stop and read a lengthy post attached to a blog post. It’s about unhappiness as a mother. The writing is excellent, holding my attention while having the right amount of humor and raw reality. It’s vulnerable. I can totally empathize with the writer’s experience and feelings.
I feel a twinge, okay a stabbing knife of jealousy as I read on. I’m seriously envious of her writing style, the way she strings words together, her funny word pictures and the fact she got 1,000 shares pretty much overnight when she first posted it. It was a real, vulnerable look into her feelings at that point in her life. She was anxious about being so open, but felt the need to share anyway, and it hit a nerve obviously, based on the online traffic she received.
Why am I so jealous of her? Why do I have this involuntary knee jerk reaction to a fellow writer’s success?
Comparison. Insecurity. Fear. Perfectionism.
I’m a fledgling writer. I never wanted to call myself that title.
It just sounds so fancy. So professional. So published.
I want to write like her. It’s moving. My ego wants the attention she garnered for her well written piece. Though in reality it was that, but more so she eloquently spoke what most of us moms feel or have felt in stages of motherhood. I felt I have to measure up to the awesomeness of her writing if I want success as a writer. We’re writing on similar topics. Is there enough room for both of us in the world?
I’m learning through books, podcasts and online teaching we all have a voice. Our words matter. Even if someone else has written on the same topic, YOU haven’t. The world hasn’t heard YOUR perspective on the subject. Who knows if the way you uniquely string the words together, or the angle you share it from will finally give the reader the “A-ha” moment they’ve been searching for (or didn’t even know they were searching for)?
If you desire to communicate through writing, just start where you’re at. No need for a college degree or special certification. Just start. Write. Write something, no matter how small every day. A sentence on a Post-It note describing how you feel in the moment. A paragraph in the Note app on your phone. A journal entry.
Writing isn’t always just a natural talent someone has. Writing is a skill that can be honed just like anything else we do with repetition. We get better at it the more we do it. Even the naturally gifted probably weren’t child proteges. They still had to hone their craft over the years.
I finished reading the article and was struggling with the emotions I was feeling. I decided to sit at my computer and express it in writing.
*Can I just pause here and say I’m SO grateful for computers and typing…? I can get so much more written down via typing than I could previously writing it out long form in a journal or notebook.
Instead of feeling joy for her and her article that struck a chord with me, pondering on her words of insight into how we can pause in motherhood and look for the joy in the little moments, saying, “Yes, girl! So true!”, I felt envy. Totally counterproductive, right? <Insert shaking my head emoji>
I’m purposing right here and now to pull myself up by my spiritual bootstraps (as my Dad would say) and stop my thought train when the little seed of envy crops it’s ugly head up, and find something positive and/or remind myself of the truths in the situation.
That author is on mission in her corner of the internet.
I’m on mission in my corner of the internet.
As long as I’m following God’s will in my life, blessings will follow.
God gives us a way to fulfill the calling He calls us too, no matter how crazy it seems. We have to do our part, though.
God doesn’t want us to envy, it’s actually one of the 10 Commandments. (Oh, shoot!)
*Full confession here: Envy is like THE number one character flaw I’ve had to deal with since childhood (besides anger). I’ve agonized for YEARS over it. It ticks me off how I’m just minding my own business ‘peopling’ and then BAM! I’m jealous about someone. I’ve prayed mightily about it through the years, too. As I’m getting older, I’ve touched on some of the root causes (one is insecurity) and realized I have to put effort into stopping my thoughts and retraining them along the lines of being grateful and content to counteract the envy and discontent. Prayer is SUPER helpful, but God hasn’t just waved His magic wand and made it disappear instantly yet. I have to put work into it.
So, wrapping this up with a big bow on top, I’m not perfect -shocker, I know. None of us are. We’re all dealing with stuff. Maybe my “moment” can be a reminder for you to be happy for others and not get bogged down in the ugly mire of envy. Keep our eyes on our own lane and find joy and contentment in the little (or big) things God has blessed us with and are all around us.
2 thoughts on “Comparison: The Thief of Joy”
Nicely put, friend! Keep up the good work!
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Ugh, I feel that sting of envy way too often. But I love your message, both practical and inspirational advice. We’re all on different stages of this journey, but with consistent writing, I am convinced we can’t go anywhere but up. Nicely done.
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