Stay in the Joy

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012 16

“How easily we get caught up in defining who we are in relation to those around us…I have lived enough in the world to know by now that this is how our ambitions often evolve. We first find ourselves alone in the joy of what we’re doing. But somehow, there are suddenly others along the way, and we lapse into the breathless race of comparison, and then we are hopelessly running to avoid being termed a failure.” — Mark Nepo

This excerpt is from today’s entry in Nepo’s The Book of Awakening, and I just had to share it with you. As I practice my creativity and photography, I find myself having this very experience that Nepo discusses. When I’m out photographing, I am present, in the moment, in flow. I’m excited about my photographs, eager to look through them, and happy to share them here at Life Refocused. More than that, I feel like I’m carving out a richer, more meaningful life for myself by engaging in my creativity. And then…something happens. I start looking through my contacts’ photos on Flickr. I read the blogs of photographers whose work I so admire. I spend some time on Pinterest scanning other people’s photographic work. And then…I feel small. I feel like my work “isn’t as good.” I feel like everyone else is better than me. In essence, I get trapped in the grip of comparison. And Theodore Roosevelt was never more right on then when he said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.

We are all on our own path. We all have our unique journey that will be unlike any others’. This isn’t a race. It’s like we are each our own train, on our track, doing our thing. One train can’t really pass another on the track — there’s only that one track that the one train can be on. So let’s stay the course, our own course. And let’s stay in the joy. There is room for all of us.

16 Responses

  1. Beautifully written and so very important to remember. Thank you.

  2. Cherish says:

    Oh Meghan, I so relate to this. I think it’s part of the journey of growing creatively – at least that’s what I tell myself. Keep on keeping on and thank you for sharing your beautiful work and thoughts.

  3. Joyce Charney says:

    Thank you so much for this on this day, in particular. I struggle with self esteem on a daily basis, and have developed many health issues in the last few years that have “robbed” me of many of my previous abilities. To look at my life as my own train is so incredibly helpful. I have to stop comparing – not just to others but to my previous life. I am wonderful and special just as I am right now, because this is my journey, and I needn’t compare it to anyone or any other time. Blessings to you on your journey!

  4. Kristina says:

    Your post spoke to me and was exactly what I needed to read this morning. Thank you for the reminder to stay on my own course. xoxx

  5. Sara G. says:

    Love this. Comparison doesn’t just affect my creative life; I get caught up in keeping up with the Joneses or comparing myself professionally/as a parent/as a friend/as a spouse/heck, even as a dogowner with others, and it always does more harm than good. Thanks for posting!

  6. Belinda says:

    This post was just what I needed to read. I find comparrison in my professional life – owner of kindergartens and in my creative life as a photographer. I try to remember when the comparrison thief creeps in, I am uniquely me. That’s what people recognise.
    Your uniquely you with your talent and that is what I love!!! Xxx

  7. Bravo! Beautifully written! Thank you!

  8. Meghan says:

    Wow! I’m so happy that this post resonated with so many of you and that you reached out to tell me so. I’m amazed at how so many of us struggle with the very same comparison demons. I hope we can hold on to who we are and trust our own journeys. xoxo

  9. Leslie says:

    So important to remember. Thanks Meghan!

  10. Marcie says:

    So beautifully written and said. And – yes – the prize is in the practice…which – it is sounding like you’ve found!

  11. Corinna says:

    YES YES YES. Now if I could just internalize it I would be a happy happy girl. Thanks for being such a bright spot.

  12. Siobhan Wolf says:

    Coming to this really late, but it is so appropriate. Thank you so much for sharing it. I’m going to keep that quote quite handy. Sounds like a book to check into as well.

  13. [...] “comparison is the thief of joy” [...]

  14. Tamar says:

    Meghan, I love this and Cherish and I were talking about it today. We all do it, we know though that we all have our time, and will achieve at our own pace. comparison also is the killer of creativity – I know I am beat after comparing myself to others and not feeling good enough – my energy has gone somewhere else than my creativity. Looking forward to meeting you soon. yeeeaaahh!

  15. [...] don’t think it could be done. More important to me, though, is that I have a core belief that there is room for all of us. But, I digress. Suffice it to say that I have met an incredible number of generous [...]

  16. […] and my relationships. Secure is staying on my own path, trusting my own process, and exiting the “breathless race of comparison” and external validation.┬áSecure reminds me that the Universe is unfolding as it should — […]

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