In this age of social media and the constant barrage that we have, the whole topic that affects all of us is on comparison and jealousy. I hear it over and over, and I feel it myself, comparing my artwork or my work to someone else’s. These are sort of bedfellows that we deal with today — comparison, jealousy, and envy as an artist.
We need to free ourselves from the thief of joy which is comparison. We’re always looking outside ourselves. We’re always looking at someone else. And a lot of times, we compare our blooper reel to someone else’s highlight reel. In this day of social media, I think we’ve all struggled with the comparison trap.
Today, we’re going to talk about Comparison Trap on Artists, the roots of it and signs that we might be stuck in this thief of joy.
5 Roots of Comparison
We all have different gifts and ways of sharing it to the world. But there are times when we are trap in this thief of joy — a comparison, that hinders us from doing what we love to do. Here are some of the roots of why artists fall off the comparison trap.
In this environment of social media, we are caught up on consuming our time browsing the internet, social media sites and end up not utilizing our time wisely. We often consumed these times to get check out and track other peoples work of art. More often than not, we cannot get our things started. So your environment is like the first thing that can contribute to it.
- How you consume your time on social media?
- How often you’re consuming it?
- In what ways are you consuming social media?
- What are you putting into your mind?
- How are you consuming and being on social media?
Environment and Identity go hand in hand that can be a root for comparison. Because typically when we’re looking at someone else, we’re comparing ourselves to them.
A lot of times if we’re really honest to ourselves, we’re feeling afraid. We’re afraid that we’re not enough. We’re insecure and looking for validation.
It’s like, “oh, is my art good enough? Is my art as good as theirs? Their art is selling, is my art good enough?”
There’s this sense of like, identity coming through that we’re just feeling like we’re not enough.
We often want quick results. We want something right now, get rich quick scheme, instant results, microwave society. But what we must realize is that success does take time. Many times the person we’re looking at has been doing work for much longer than we realize.
There is something about not trying to rush the process either. When we’re rushing things, we’re not doing our best work. We’re not letting the process unfold to where we can actually reach our full potential. It takes time to build a good art business.
Scarcity thought that: “there’s probably not enough for me.” We are often blinded with these thoughts of scarcity, “not enough thing”. That the universe is limited. Or we are not good enough. And there are other artists better than we are.
Instead of having that scarcity mindset, what if we had an abundance mindset that there is enough for everyone. No matter if there are a million other people doing what you do like there is enough for everyone. And if God has called you to this, He will lead you to that place of success.
- Earthly Focus
So let’s just face it, our society and our culture want to make everything about us. Think about YouTube, what’s their slogan, broadcast yourself? It’s like, let me tell you about me. And we live in a very humanistic society where it’s all about me, me, me!
But the truth of the matter is when you’re a follower of Christ, God is the main character. He is in the spotlight, not us. So when we get this mindset that we have this earthly focus that it’s all about us and this one moment, and we’re not really thinking ahead towards heaven, we’re not thinking about Christ. We’re not keeping us, our eyes focused on him.
7 Signs You Might be Stuck in the Comparison Trap
Now, we understand that comparison falls in with jealousy and envy that only lead to internal torment. Anytime you come to envy a person over time that actually changes to hatred and we might even find ourselves throwing spears at people in our minds, right? That’s a human thing. But we must need to be aware of the signs that we as an artist might be stuck in the comparison trap.
- Do you have a lack of joy?
Some of the byproducts of lacking joy in life are depression. There are some things that we cannot really bring on ourselves, as we’re comparing or looking at other success. We wish we had that same success and internally we begin to get jealous. Envy then rises up in us that spills over to being an anxious spirit and depressed inside.
- Artists block
It could be a writer’s block or artists block. But basically, you might have a lack of creative flow. Where sometimes the thoughts that you might be having are nothing’s good enough.
Maybe a little bit of that perfectionist mentality or comparing yourself to others. Thinking you’ll never measure up. So then you don’t even try.
We come to resent ourselves or we resent who God made us to be. That’s a tough one because I think we’ve all struggled with that at times. Sometimes we feel like we’re too much of one thing. Maybe not enough of another thing.
Beliefs that “I’m not smart enough or I wish that my brain work faster in this area.” Or whatever it might be that you can become paralyzed. Resentment can turn into a whole host of other emotions that leaves us stifled in a lot of ways.
That kind of leads into the sign number four, which is insecurity. We were kind of already talking about never feeling like you’re ready to share your art. I’ve talked to people and encouraging them to start posting regularly on Instagram. They’re like, “Oh, I’m not ready yet.”
When you’re insecure, that means you’re not comfortable in your own skin. I mean, you just don’t like who you are. You wish you could change this and that, and this and that. You’re not content with who God made you to be.
When you are content and you are secure in the love of Christ, this leads to confidence. It’s not arrogance. Or not a kind of confidence in oneself.
It’s a confidence that God is going to show up in your life. He is working. There is a process unfolding and is secured of that. When you’re insecure, you become afraid.
What we mean by this is that we rush the process in order to get quick results. Perhaps even hurrying to gain the esteem of others. Maybe it’s not that we’ve want results of solely wanting to glorify God in our work.
Instead, we want to get quick results so that people will like us. That it can gain more security. Or get rid of insecurity to oneself. It’s all tied together in this comparison trap.
Creating a business takes time. There are certain things in life that we don’t rush. Being impatient doesn’t lead to the success of our business.
- Unable to celebrate the success of others
This is a question for all of us.
What’s our first response when we hear about the success of others? What’s that first emotion that you might even find yourself feeling?
It’s creeping up your spine, whatever it might be. Is it an overwhelming joy for that person? Or is it? “Man, now that doesn’t make me look as good.”
What’s the complete opposite?
We secretly rejoice when someone fails. Have we ever done that?
Again, we may not audibly say or think that we’re doing that. But we need to actually monitor our quick responses after we hear about the failure of others.
We’re really just blinded to what God’s done in our own lives when we have an ungrateful spirit. Gratitude is so powerful. It opens up to many good things in our lives.
Gratitude helps us bring positive emotions such as happiness and contentment. It protects us from envy and resentment.
I’ve had a whole book series on gratitude. You can know more about it here: http://www.shelleyhitz.com/series/a-life-of-gratitude
Keep your Focus on God to Avoid the Comparison Trap
It’s so easy to start comparing and getting worried and all of that. God is the owner. He has ownership. But, then He gives us authority.
God is the owner of this business. He is the one driving it. This is about Him. He’s the one that takes all of the knocks and has to figure out the things.
But, He’s given us the authority to walk in this and to do these things.
It’s a road and some of you may be on that road right now. I just want to say to you, there is no shame. We are all in this together. This is a human thing. There are grace and forgiveness for all of us, no matter where we’re going.
But, I now that so many artists are stuck. I believe this is one of the things that may have you stuck, this whole thing of comparison and jealousy. It is something that definitely can slow you down.
Identify the roots. Be aware of the signs. And unstack from the comparison trap.
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