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Why am I posting this blog post at 8:30pm? It’s not because I have been out shooting amazing things or because I’ve been really busy doing housewife duties or because I’ve been working on big ideas for my business. No, it’s because I literally stayed in bed until 3PM when I was forced to get out of bed because I had a friend coming over.
When I woke up at 8:08AM and Matt was still asleep beside me and he needed to leave at 8:15AM for work, I knew that it wasn’t going to be a good day. What’s worse is that it wasn’t just that I knew. It’s almost as if I chose that it wasn’t going to be a good day. I just had this feeling that I was going to lay in bed and that’s how it was going to be.
If I’m being honest, it’s not the first time I’ve wasted away the day like this. It’s happened before, though not terribly often, and the reason that it happens is usually related to one thing: comparison. That’s right. Comparison in my business, in my skills, in my worth, or in my life in general. I’ve always struggled with contentment in my relationships and in my business and in my life, and the times I’m most discontent are when I’m comparing myself to someone else.
I know that I’m not alone, because I see posts from photographers all the time about being discouraged or about the comparison game really hitting them hard. You know what I mean. “Wow, her photos are so amazing! Why aren’t mine like that?” “Oh man her clients really rave about her, but my clients don’t say those things about me!” “Wow, she has 30 weddings this year?! I only have 5!!!” So then what happens? We get discouraged and think we aren’t good enough or aren’t talented or no one likes us.
The thoughts can get worse, too and sound pretty horrible when you say them out loud. “Ugh, I can’t believe she got to photograph that couple. I wanted to photograph them! They must have not even thought about me! They must hate me!” Or worse still… “They’ll be sorry. I would have done a better job. They won’t be impressed.” It reminds me of a quote I heard somewhere…
It’s true. When you compare yourself to others there really are only two options. Either you become discouraged and depressed which can lead into deep despair because you think you aren’t good enough, or you become proud and think you’re the better choice or you’re more talented or deserve more than someone else. Both of those places are a really bad place to be. Only when we are content with ourselves and our work can we truly be happy in this business.
Why does this happen so often? I think it’s because our work is very personal. Creative work is really showing a part of YOU to the world. You’ll either be accepted or rejected. When someone chooses another photographer over you, it’s easy to take offense and think that potential client doesn’t like you. Or they like the other photographer better. We can get very dramatic about it! But really, that might not be the reason at all! Maybe that photographer is their friend! Or maybe they’ve never heard of you! Maybe they were cheaper than you! Or maybe they just have the style the client was looking for!
Maybe they do think that someone else is better than you. But honestly, what does that matter? This isn’t a competition. If you started your business to be the best photographer ever, you’re doing it wrong. There will always be someone better than you, and that’s okay! I’m reminded of another quote I heard recently… “Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.” But I think it could even be said “Don’t compare your middle to someone else’s middle.”
Why??? Because they are not you!!! Only you are you!!! Once you start trying to be someone else you stop being you!!! Your clients are meant for, you guessed it, YOU. So only compare yourself to you.
This applies to life too, not just the creative industry. Comparison is the thief of joy. Just say no to it. It is not about being better than your neighbor, your co-worker, your spouse, your sister, your idol. It’s about doing your job well with the resources that God has given you. It’s about being better than who you were yesterday.
Today, I didn’t do that. Today was a pretty big failure in my book. But you know what? I have tomorrow. I can’t let today’s failure mess up tomorrow’s potential. Tomorrow still has the potential to be amazing, and I’m going to make it amazing.
But you know what? I can’t do it by myself. My heart is wicked. It will take every chance it can to indulge in my flesh. Today, my indulgence was in putting off my work to watch Netflix and YouTube videos all day. My indulgence will only stop fully when I drink from Christ and His Word! A friend of mine posted this today… “The indulgence of the flesh is stopped by a greater indulgence in the person of Jesus Christ . . . We will only be able to resist when we see that Jesus Christ Himself is satisfying and forever.” – Trent Hunter
So why did I post this today? A lot of my thoughts are disjointed, and I know that it doesn’t really flow all that well. But I needed to post it. I need to hold myself accountable and not let this happen again. Also, maybe you need to know that you’re not alone. I think comparison and discontentment affects all of us more than we would like to admit. Perhaps you don’t struggle with comparison, and that’s AWESOME. Keep at it!! It’s terrible! We have to fight it, and we have to fight it hard. Satan doesn’t want us to be content. He wants us to be ungrateful. He smiles when we fail. Let’s kill comparison and start cultivating joy!!
Who’s with me?!