In this age of social media, it is very easy to get caught up with what others are doing, how many followers they have, and the feeling they have it made...and you don't. While social media is great for meeting some people, sharing your passions, and, for a business, marketing yourself to potential new customers, it can also be emotionally draining and mess with your mind.
Comparing myself to others is something I struggle with and while I know it is not helpful, I still do it. I'll find myself questioning whether my work is as good as I think it is, triggered just from looking at a photo from another artist. This can effect my motivation and makes me stop enjoying what I'm doing...though usually just for a split second.
When these moments strike, I forget why I'm creating and pursuing the path of being a professional artist. That is why it's important to bring awareness to when these emotions surface and find ways to "snap out of it." Here are a few things I've been doing to help keep moving forward without getting caught up in negative thoughts.
Gratitude Journal. I mentioned in a previous post I have been journaling since I was a teen. When I find myself spiraling into a "comparison fantasy" I'll make a point of journaling about what I'm grateful for. Stopping to recognize what I have in my life and not what is missing helps me gain some perspective on the positive. Stopping to say "I am grateful for..." can be incredibly powerful.
Social Media Break. Like a lot of people, I'm addicted to social media. When I find myself scrolling and creating stories about other people, I'll change up my habit and get off the apps as much as possible. I still use them to promote my ceramics, so I'll limit when I sign on to answer questions and engage with friends and followers. Even a small reduction in use seems to go a long way and I know I can continue to improve on this area.
Talk to other creatives. Misery loves company, right? In all seriousness, connecting with other makers is important. I would not have gotten as far as I have without my community of artist and artisan friends. We offer support, bounce ideas around, and help ground each other by simply talking and listening.
I know the comparisons will continue to happen. By catching myself and using the above tools, I'm able to refocus and get back to work doing what I love and what I want to put into the world without worrying about how I stack up to others.