We compare too much.
As people we compare our lives.
As girls we may compare our beauty.
As guys we may compare our strength.
As students we compare knowledge and grades.
As employees we compare wages and positions and achievements.
As friends we compare circles and contacts and how many people we know and how many of those people are important.
As writers we compare our words.
And every time we fall short.
There is always--a l w a y s--someone better than us.
Someone more beautiful, successful, productive. Someone smarter, faster, better. Someone who has it all together when we are falling apart.
We have the unfortunate tendency to compare our failures to another person's successes.
This comparison game makes us feel better sometimes. "Oh look, I'm further ahead than they are." It's probably true. You're more skilled, more disciplined, more accomplished. But it's also true when you turn the other way and realize, "But other people are further ahead than I am." Wherever you are, there will always be those behind you and those ahead of you.
It's terribly cliched, but you're on your own journey! You have a unique life made up of
where you live
who your family is
what you've learned
what you've taught yourself
who you know
where you've been
what you've decided
what others have decided for you
what you care about
what you dream about
what you absolutely cannot live without.
No one else has that combination, that magic elixir that cannot be replicated. You are a limited edition, a one time only sort of thing.
We hear it all the time. "You're special. You're unique. Be you--everyone else is taken." We've grown deaf to it.
Deaf to the truth that you are you and that's pretty amazing.
Where you're going is amazing.
Your life is amazing. I love your story. I love who you are.
Whether you're rocketing forward in a blur of breathless light
or you're plodding forward step by painful step
or your path is wandering, looping, falling back on itself and finding its way--
it's your path.
This life is yours.
What do you want out of it?
Not what everyone else wants out of it. What does success look like to you? (I'll give you a hint: ask the One who created you what your success looks like to Him. You'll find an even better answer.)
Forget everyone else's perfectly filtered photos and snappy blog posts and put-together facades. (Yes, forget mine too.) There are things crumbling behind those fronts. We all have those broken bits.
Go out and really live. Live the way you and only you are supposed to live. Doing anything less is a disservice to yourself and to the God who invented you in the first place.
And writers--you beautiful creatures with wings of ink--stop wishing for your voice to sound like anyone else's. You are not some other author, no matter how poetic, tightly written, skillfully crafted, surprisingly plotted, allegorical, straightforward, intense, or fantastic their books are. Admire them; that's all right. Don't try to be them.
Try to be you.
That's hard. I know. Sometimes you'll borrow bits of other people in an effort to discover your own voice underneath. It's part of the process. But stop trying to stuff yourself into another person's box--be it in writing or any other part of life. You're too wild and original and incredible for that.
I don't think I could sum it up any better than that.