Creativity for the Rest of Us

The Poison of Comparison

What do you do when you see that someone else has written your book, is marketing a workshop you could teach in your sleep, is making art that you could do (maybe better), is humming along in a health groove that leaves them glowing and you seething with resentment?

You know what I mean.  When someone else has the audacity to create art that is so close to what you’ve been dreaming about and actually put it out into the world, you feel deflated and beaten before you’ve even started.

That’s when the poisonous viper of comparison slithers in and makes a cozy home in the corner of your life. Left unchecked its bite emits the “why bother, someone else has already done it better than me” venom.  We fall prey to the chorus of I’m not good enough, disciplined enough, courageous enough or – wait for it – creative enough to do anything like they did.

Being plagued with envy and comparison most of my life, I’ve had countless opportunities to set limits on those debilitating voices.  I had another one having just finished Brené Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection.

From practice I tracked where I was triggered so the bite of comparison passed through quickly.  I was able to see that her work helps inform mine; it doesn’t take the place of it.  Guidepost #6 – Cultivating Creativity, Letting go of Comparison – was pure gold.  I found the words that I’ve been looking for to express how I see our relationship to creativity.

There are only people who use their creativity and people who don’t.  Unused creativity doesn’t just disappear.  It lives within us until it’s expressed, neglected to death, or suffocated by resentment and fear.

It breaks my heart how many people let comparison stop them from using their unique creativity.  Makes me wonder if the current tide of depression, fear, suicide, eating disorders and general disengagement from life stems from our creativity being, literally, neglected to death.

Creativity, which is the expression of our originality, helps us stay mindful that what we bring to the world is completely original and cannot be compared.

Your creativity matters – whatever it is and however you do it.  Now go make your own art.



Express your originality and make some art.  Work with your hands.  It doesn’t matter what medium you choose.  Bonus points to the courageous beginners who will dive into something they haven’t done before.  Whether you or anyone else likes it is not the point.  Create for the sake of creating.  Get messy!

Oh, and get the book – The Gifts of Imperfection – Your Guide to a Wholehearted Life by Brené Brown.  It’s all good though the chapter on The Things That Get in the Way is right on and will resonate with regular readers here.




7 Responses to “The Poison of Comparison”

  1. fireball says:

    When I think of creativity, I think of art
    form, put together by me or others. Creativity can be in your work, personal, in community, relationships. This is an endless form of expression of ourselves. We sometimes forget we need no ones permission to begin writing a book, abstract painting piece, write a song, poem, dance, produce, direct. We are only held back by our own insecurities and fear
    we think someone could do it better then us. the fact of the matter is we all have a special story to express, verbalize, by dance, sing, write, paint. a longing is only creation we have yearning to come out of us and be shared with the world. Sometimes you will find 4-5 books on the same subject. Different ways of writing for different minds. We all have a way of capturing what is important to us. The right moment is now not when we think it’s perfect and now I can write.

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