If we’re honest, we’ll admit we crave feedback – feedback of the positive kind. We want to know our writing is good, that our words connect with others, and that we inspire, entertain, or educate. We seek affirmation; we yearn validation. Whether we admit it or not, we have an ego needing to be stroked.
At the same time, we secretly fear we’re no good—and one day everyone else will know it, too.
So we compare ourselves to others. We do this to our destruction—seriously. Our self-esteem is at stake.
Some days we see only those who are better than we are: more talented, better connected, luckier, more successful, having greater sales, making more money (or any money at all), or published more. We’ll always find those folks, diminishing ourselves in the process.
Other times we see those who aren’t as good as we are: producing less, struggling more, not yet published, toiling in obscurity, and making mistakes we no longer commit. We’ll always find those folks, too, deluding ourselves in the process.
Every writer makes both of these comparisons. The only difference is the ratio we employ. Regardless, making comparisons is not a constructive exercise.
Perhaps the only one we need to compare ourselves to is ourselves. Are we improving? Is our work today better than our writing from yesterday, last year, and when we started?
Or maybe we just need to resolve to do the best we possibly can – every day – and avoid comparisons altogether.
May we all write well, with much excellence and abounding in joy, forgetting all others and pushing ourselves forward.
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Peter Lyle DeHaan is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.
15 replies on “The Risk of Comparing Ourselves to Others”
You are so right, Peter. It’s so easy to forget why we are writing and focus on how others are doing with their own. Great post! Very timely for me.
Yes, writing with joy. Thank you for the reminder. Can’t talk now, I am going to write.
Excellent post, Peter. I often struggle with the comparison game.
Pamela, you inspire me!
Brianna, it’s timely for me, as well!
Joan, I think we all do at one time or another. My goal is for it to happen less often.
Excellent insight Peter! To compare ourselves to ourselves is very freeing indeed .
This viewpoint frees us in our comparison. As we look at those behind us we can recognize how far we’ve come and to lend a helping hand if appropriate. Then to be challenged by those who are ahead of us to see how much more we can grow.
We always seem to get in trouble when comparisons are made. I think this was a great reminder for fighting a great temptation. Thanks.
Sharron, you are so right, but unfortunately, it is easier to say it than to do it!
I think that when we compare ourselves to others, we always come out one the losing side.
We’ve had a great discussion on this. Thank you to everyone!
Now the conversation continues on my Spiritually Speaking blog: Who Do We Compare Ourselves To?
I saw the title to the Spiritually Speaking and thought I better read this one first. Ah yes, my friend, the comparison itch never gets scratched just right does it? Good reminder in this time of dryness and self doubt…Thank you!
Jerry, may you push through this valley and emerge on the other side, stronger and ready.
Peter – great reminder and nudge to be the best WE can be …celebrating with those who celebrate and cheer in those who are in a slump on the journey !
Nancy, that’s a great perspective!