Updated: Apr 8
I've noticed a theme around the web lately. People have admiration for a particular artist or writer and that simple appreciation turns into a wish. A wish to be just like that person.
They want that artist's success. Their following. The talent.
What happens in these moments, these dreams unspoken, is something that can easily turn toxic. The admiration becomes obsessive and the person who strives to be more starts to sink into a depression.
They feel inadequate. They feel worthless. Like their art is nothing compared to the creation of their idol. How can I become a better artist? Why is my story not as engaging as theirs? Will I ever be better than I am now? Am I ever going to be enough?
Why can't I be just like them?
There is only one thing to say to this type of spiral.
Artists, Writers, Creators of all kinds. YOU are on a journey to become a better YOU.
Don't let admiration turn your self-worth into something dark. You can appreciate your idols and love their work but it's their work. This is their journey. Your path is different as is your unique writing and artistic style.
We are all influenced by different dreams, aesthetics, and tastes. I personally love a good, creepy art style with victorian gothic elements. I also love the delicate painting of the old artwork that decorates a country cottage. Pastels and rich earth tones make me so happy but sadly those are not in my skill set.
I am an artist of my own creation. I love cartoons. I love semi-realism. I love fanart. This is me. I am not them. I am myself.
Take a look at your work and your tastes. Take a look at what you have created in this world.
Ask yourself these questions;
How many people do you know in your town who can do what you do?
How many people tell you that they find your work impressive?
How many people wish to be in your place?
What did it take for you to get this far?
Have you improved since last year?
Are there any places you can see a drastic difference from older projects?
Feel a little better?
The thing about comparison is that it only hurts the person who is doing the comparing. You are only hurting the person inside yourself. You are clipping the wings of your creative spirit.
Take this from someone who knows. I have compared myself to many artists and all I got for it was a night of stress dreams and a tear-stained pillow. I could have become a much better artist if I had only taken the truth that I am responsible for my own journey.
As it happened, I thought I was a failure. I wasn't on top of my class. I wasn't a creator with a direction and a plan. I was floating and allowing life to come to me, just as I always had and somehow... things changed. I felt disturbed that my carefree happiness is somehow holding me back and I needed to be someone else. Someone serious. Someone who wasn't me.
I still have doubts. When I catch myself during these brief moments, I realize that I have to make a choice.
Do I wallow and waste a day in my bed crying over each missed opportunity and let another day pass feeling lower than dirt?
Do I take my own advice and take a look at my improvements?
The truth is that we all are subjected to these thoughts. Even the strongest among us can falter and I have seen great people falter. Just think, if the greats are feeling the same ache and fear, then where does that leave you?
It leaves you on Your path.
Don't be anyone else. You don't need to put yourself through that stress. No one is perfect. No one is "better" than anyone else. Everyone has their demons. Even I am wrangling those stray thoughts from time to time.
There is one thing I know for sure and it took me ages to come to this conclusion after years of straying from my path.
You compare yourself less when you know WHO you really are and what you stand for. Do yourself a favor and stay true to you. Just be the person you were meant to be and ignore the voice that is always trying to take you off your path.