Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Friday, July 23, 2010

Comparison is an act of vengeance against yourself

I can't stop comparing myself to others and falling short. It's one of my worst character flaws. Someone who began blogging the same time I did now has way more followers than me and many more commenters. Others who began writing after me now have manuscripts submitted to agents and publishers. Don't misunderstand, I don't begrudge these folks what they've achieved. I'm just jealous.

But the truth is, I haven't had the energy to do what it takes to make this blog more successful. And to market my memoir. Which makes me ask myself why I'm writing in the first place. Because it's what I do. And I don't want to stop. But what I need to shift is how I label myself. If I label myself a writer, then if I'm not doing all the writerly things I think I'm supposed to be doing, then I'm not successful. Then I get down on myself. Then I'm miserable.

So, I am going to stop calling myself a writer. I'm Karen. It's who I am, not what I am. I'm on a journey of healing. I seek to grow emotionally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. On that path, I write, I sing, I folkdance, I read, I hike, I play with my hubby and my friends and my dog, and I share here about all of the above.

Comparison is an act of vengeance against yourself. I heard this in the 12-step programs. It's something I need to remember. How about you?


KarenG said...

I compare myself as well, and covet, and all the rest. I mentioned that once in a comment on Nicola Morgan's blog (I heart Nicola), and she said, "No, it sounds like you're ambitious." Which sounds better than jealous & competitive!

Cyndi said...

It's tough when others have what we want. The truth is that we are the only ones who can attain what we want and if we're not doing that, there must be a reason that something else is taking priority. If I'm totally honest, for me, it's usually fear that keeps me from pursuing what I know I really want.

Tabitha Bird said...

Depends, I think. Sometimes comparison works for me. It makes me strive to be better. There are people I admire. I do compare. I have learnt to do it without beating myself up. But I want to see where I can be better. I get what you are saying though. We don't want to be down on ourselves all the time.

Vicki Rocho said...

I think it starts out innocently enough. Most of us are just wondering where we are at. Are we doing as well as we think we are? Better? Or (groan) worse?

It's our response to the answer that gets us in trouble. We were feeling great about how far we were in the story. We were congratulating ourselves on our parenting skills or WHATEVER the behavior in question might be. But when we find out that there are several people further along than we thought there would be, we attack ourselves.

There's no harm in looking to see where others are if we can do it without prejudice towards ourselves.

Joanne said...

I like to think we can learn from others who've forged a path ahead of us, see some wisdom or experience that might help us along on our own, unique and individual path to whatever our destination is.

Tamika: said...

I struggle with the comparison game myself from time to time. I try and encourage myself with simple truths, this is not about me. My writing is simply an instrument to reach the world for Christ, if He gets the glory than I'll be satisified.

Helen Ginger said...

I had not heard that comparison is an act of vengeance on yourself. I can see what you're saying, but over the last two days, I see it from a different way. I see it as a way to see the good in that other person and to see what I might want to change about myself.

Devon Ellington said...

Everybody has to make their own journey in their own way.

I AM a writer. it is what I do. It is not all of who I am, but a lot of it.

If I don't write, I don't eat, can't pay the bills. That doesn't mean I don't love it, that my passion is not also my business.

It does mean that I value the skills I've built. Far too often, those who earn their living doing what they hate to do resent those of us who do what we love and try to punish us by saying we sell out if and when we make a living at it.

I deserve to earn a living-- and a good one -- doing what I love. I've put in the work, the time, the craft. I've built it.

i have no regrets and no apologies.

Every time I see someone else succeed, I'm happy, because when one of us succeeds, it's better for ALL of us.

Sally said...

Cyndi said "it's tough when others have what we want".... that for me is the Key... I don't even know what I want. I didn't start blogging to get followers or comments- but I do find myself noticing when others have them and there is a niggling. When I started following/being followed, blogging changed for me. Interesting question you pose...

Anonymous said...

I like what Devon said: Success begets success. Begrudging someone else their success just pulls them down and does nothing to lift me up.


Karen Walker said...

Please let me be clear. I don't begrudge anyone else their success. I am ecstatic for those who are succeeding. Where I get in trouble is comparing myself to them and coming up short.
These comments have been enlightening. Thanks, everyone. It is certainly food for thought.

The Old Silly said...

I think it is definitely true, the 12-step statement that is the title of this post. Be you, the best you can be you, and that should be what it is and just fine with you.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

It definitely doesn't pay to compare because we always end up falling short *somewhere.*

I have to call myself a writer because it's my only talent (and I'm not being modest. It really is.) You are *multi*talented and don't need to limit yourself by narrow confines of who or what you are.

Glynis said...

It sounds as if you are going through life changes. Embrace and enjoy.

Linda Austin said...

Everyone has their own special set of skills and talents. Comparison only works if it inspires you to look up, not down. By the way, your blog rates higher than mine, but I'm okay with that.