Thursday, August 04, 2011
Compare And Contrast
Compare and contrast the industrial revolution in England in the 1700s to the technological revolution that occurred in the Silicon Valley during the 1990s. Sounds like a good high school essay question to me. Husby and I refer back to the "compare and contrast" challenges of school often, mostly as a joke. Sadly, in real life, I always compare, but rarely contrast.
To often we compare ourselves to others, and if you're like me you find you just don't measure up ~ in your own mind, that is. I've been doing that a lot lately. It's not good for the self esteem. A really good thing I've stopped doing is comparing myself to Martha Stewart. (Did you notice that little reference, "good thing?") I mean really. Martha is a business wizard and all that, but you have to know she doesn't maintain fifteen houses, run a corporation, put on a show, and raise children and chickens all by herself. No one person can do that. Or can they? It doesn't even matter. The thing is I shouldn't even try to measure up to that kind of persona. It's just unrealistic. I gave up Martha Stewart a long time ago. Now her ideas may be inspirations, but to be Martha Stewart? It's just not going to happen and I'm fine with that.
We can compare ourselves to all sorts of things. How does my blog compare to others? My Etsy shop? Is my garden as beautiful and productive as my neighbor's? Am I as good a cook as The Pioneer Woman? OK, just stop it.
You have to add the "contrast" to the equation. When you only compare you might find some motivation to improve yourself, but it doesn't account for your differences. We all have different schedules, obligations, priorities, talents, and interests. The differences between you and those to which you compare yourself may just be to your advantage. You may not be blogging every day, but you have a meaningful dinner hour with your family every evening, complete with food that cooked in your very own oven. Or you may not do any cooking, but are working on fulfilling your dream as an independent artist. Are you comparing your art with others? Don't forget to contrast too. Is Monet better than Rembrandt? Not necessarily. They're different.
It's all apples and oranges. Compare and contrast. They're both fruit. One is red, one is orange. They both grow on trees. One is firm, one is soft. No better, no worst. Just different.
Be kind to yourself. Aspire and inspire, but don't ever feel like you're less because you're not the same.
(If you're working on a handmade biz I found a great inspiration article on defining your own success. You can find it here.)