When I say, ‘You aren’t them,’ it almost sounds like I am making somebody feel inferior compared to another person. And while we usually see this phrase used in situations that are meant to draw a clear line for, uh, less friendly reasons, I want us to say this phrase to ourselves more often.
You aren’t them.
You aren’t the person you are comparing yourself to. While it encompasses all the good and the bad, I want you to focus on what makes you unique. What makes you the person you are. When I say, ‘You aren’t them,’ I mean that you are a totally different human being, a whole other individual. You can probably do things that others cannot. You can come up with ideas that are as unique as you.
I want everyone to tell themselves, every time you see something that makes them second guess your own abilities, that you are not them, and because you aren’t them, you pitting yourself against somebody whose style is so much different compared to yours just seems very unfair and incredibly unhealthy. I feel as though a lot of us end up discouraging ourselves regarding our own capabilities because we are, almost always, comparing ourselves and our abilities to people with a completely different set of abilities, altogether.
There is a fine line between wishing you could do something as well as they can and wishing you could do exactly what they do. You could always learn something new and try to incorporate that into your own work, but don’t you think it is unfair to you that you compare your abilities as a traditional artist to someone who dabbles in digital art? Come on! They are very different things and comparing the two makes no sense whatsoever.
But, you know, from a very young age, we are conditioned to be competitive in nature. I remember being compared to other kids my age, while growing up, and while it promoted a healthy competition for a little bit, it left me always comparing myself and my abilities to others because I was made to believe that I had to be better than them. It isn’t until much later that I realized everyone gets a different set of problems and that everyone is subjected to very different atmospheres in their lives. It took me a lot of time to unlearn this and teach myself that the only person I needed to compete with was myself.
I’ll tell you why it is healthy to remind yourself that you aren’t them in a positive manner.
First things first, it helps you appreciate the people around you much better. The moment you stop seeing your friends as competition and see them as people you can confide in, you stop comparing yourself to them and it doesn’t bother you that your levels of progress differ from one another. That you, as individuals, differ from one another. I have no words to express the weight that is lifted off of your chest once you realize that your friends aren’t someone you should compete with. Rather, they are people you should celebrate the way they celebrate every victory you achieve, no matter the size.
The best thing you can do for yourself is to try and get better at something you do for yourself and nobody else, because when you start comparing two unrelated things, you begin to lose sight of what is actually important to you. I get it. Everyone wants to learn something new. Everyone, at some point, wishes they could have done something as well as the people they look up to. And that’s a good thing. But it is pretty unrealistic to tell yourself that you’re not good enough because you cannot do something the exact way somebody else can.
It is very valid of us to feel left out and maybe a little lost when we see people find their paths very early on. But we aren’t going to be walking that path alongside them. We are going to walk an entirely different path, and it just feels wrong to compare your sea to somebody else’s mountain.
You aren’t them and that is what makes you who you are.