The Gift of Comparison

Have you ever looked at another creative and thought,

They sound better than me
They look better than me
They have got it all together, and I’m a mess!

How does that feel in your body?

Pretty awful, right?

I can remember showing up to dance auditions and dreading if I was put in the same group to dance as certain dancers.  There they would be, with their long legs, perfect bodies, and glowing confidence, and I would panic, thinking the choreographer would never look at me.

Even though I didn’t want to be feeding the voice in my head telling me how I DIDN’T measure up, I would spiral, and as a result have crappy auditions and performances.

Comparison.

UGH!

Comparison is a real issue because it keeps your nervous system in a state of fight or flight.  With every thought of,
this person is better than me
this person has something better than me

your whole nervous system is in fear, because you are constantly monitoring for what is unfavorable.

This is no way to live, my dear one.
And certainly no way to create our best or perform our best.

And this was proven to me time and again.

But there was something magical that happened when I did perform my best.
There was something completely different happening when the choreographer would gleefully hire me.

There’s a way to turn this around, because we ALL feel it. You are not alone, and I want to give you some powerful tools so comparison doesn’t take you out any longer.

 

So, let’s start with the moment of comparison.

You’re looking at someone else and thinking,
they have it and I don’t

If we stopped here, the result would be toxic.  But, let’s allow the comparison to actually point us towards what you DO want.

What is it EXACTLY this other Creative possesses?

Is it confidence?
Is it ease in front of their audience?
Is it a powerful presence in their performance?
Is it words that jump off the page?

Take the comparison as an opportunity to understand what you CRAVE.  And here’s the juicy part…now CLAIM it for yourself.

Give yourself PERMISSION to claim this.

Allow yourself to tap into all that is powerful in you.

For myself as a dancer, I used to marvel at the EASE of these other dancers.  They would remember the combination effortlessly and be able to really PERFORM, bringing themselves to the dance.  They stood out because they were relaxed.

So this was what I worked on. This is what I claimed, and the results were completely different.

Your desires are actually pointing you towards your aliveness, towards your unique light.  Let them REMIND you what you CAN have and embody.

Instead of bringing you down, comparison is actually pointing you towards what needs permission to thrive.
You truly have all you need….it’s all there inside you.

 

Comparison can also be our way of being terrified.  As Creatives and Performers, we can be terrified of being seen, of being magnetic to our audience.

So, comparison can be used as an unconscious way to stay small.

Small in our Art
Small in our words
Small in our actions

Standing in that audition room, looking at another redheaded dancer who has Broadway credits, I would think,
If she really is that good of a dancer, if she really is that talented, then who am I to chase my dreams? Who am I to stand in my worthiness and claim this moment?

Have you ever felt this?

I certainly did…….

Because it can be terrifying to fully FEEL your power as a Creative; to fully feel you are limitless.

SLOW down and ask,
Where am I hiding?
Where am I terrified?
Where am I giving myself an excuse?

And all from a place of empathy.  There is actually no problem here.  There is so much shame that gets put around comparison and jealousy and self deprecation. Finger pointing never works, but inquiry and curiosity does.

I’m here today to lovingly tell you, there’s nothing wrong with you.  You are not broken.  You’ve just been scared.

AND, you have the power to flip it.

When comparison arises, you can say,
I’m comparing!

Then USE it, slow down, and turn the light around.  Shine it within to gain clarity around what you truly WANT and where you are hiding.

 

So, take a moment right now, and write down what you are going to CLAIM starting today.
Use this to bring you back to empowerment.

 

Step out of the shadows.  Your light is brilliant.

 

 

Photography: Caitlin Cannon Photography

Your Five Closest

Have you ever felt completely depleted?

You feel low energy, and as you stare at your Art projects, there is an emptiness…a lack of inspiration.

And this feels so icky! Your Art is your heartbeat and passion.

What is going on?

The muse has left the building, and it can feel very lonely.

So what do we do in that moment?
How do we turn it around to return to that place of energy, joy, and creative flow?

How do we go from feeling stuck to inspired action?

A few weeks ago, I went to see a close friend present her choreography at Martha Graham.  It was a very special night, as she was showcasing work that had taken two years to compile.

At the end of the show, the audience leapt to the their feet, and as I stood cheering, I became aware of one woman in the back, shouting very loudly. Turning to see who it was, my whole stomach dropped.

Standing clear as day was a woman who used to be my friend, who used to be one of my closest confidants, and even a fellow performer.

We shared years of secrets, tears, triumphs and tribulations….until it all ended, right in the wake of my devastating divorce.

A friend no more, I hadn’t seen her in years, and instantly I could feel my body tighten.

Would she say anything to me?
Would I say anything to her?

I hadn’t seen her when I came in, and now with hindsight it made perfect sense she was here.  Of course, she is also close friends with the choreographer.

Friends with her….not with me…anymore.

And for very good reason.
She stopped being a healthy support for me.

She was the only friend who thought I should do a trial 6 month separation in the face of infidelity and a man telling me to my face he didn’t love me anymore.

She defended my ex when I laid  myself at her feet, sharing how devastated and broken I felt.

I felt invisible in her presence.
I felt like my words didn’t matter….

And most of all, as I started to truly open up about my shame and vulnerability, she wasn’t interested. She wasn’t a safe harbor anymore.

In simplest terms, we were no longer on the same page.

I wanted to grow, she didn’t.

So, we ended the friendship…mutually, and never spoke again.

And I went on to create many new friendships, deepen the most loving ones, and build a whole new life where my Art actually nourished me, instead of drained me.

My new friendships reflected where I was NOW, not where I was before.

And that evening, among the throngs of people at the Martha Graham studio , no words were exchanged.  Our eyes never met….we both knew.  We had both moved on.

 

Who supports you?
Do they understand your passion and Art?

Do you feel like you are spending all your time convincing them?

That can be really draining.
That can be exhausting.

And if they are close to you, it can really affect not only the quality of your Art, but your ability to actually get out there and promote yourself, connecting with your audience.

One of the most famous quotes rings very true here,
You are the sum total of the five people you spend the most time with.

So, take a moment and take stock.

Who are you surrounding yourself with?
What are they saying?

Are they criticizing you and bringing you down?
How do you feel in their presence?
Energized and inspired, or exhausted and depleted?

As Artists, our power is in community. YOUR power lies in support and fellow Artists who not only GET you, but lift you to do your best, to express your heart, and to step forward fearlessly with your unique voice.

And here’s the part that I missed for SO long….we do this TOGETHER.

Specifically, we do this with Artists who are on the same page.

They want to be Untoppable
They want to create their best work
They want to move the audience

Like you.

Negative, blaming, and critical energy can be so draining.

Find your people who inspire you, who energize your muse, and who hold your path of GROWTH as absolutely vital.

We are constantly changing and becoming with every day!  This is the joy of being an Artist, because we have the ability to express this.

So, take stock.  Release those who are more interested in blaming and staying stuck.  Release them with grace and know,
you are not alone.

Let’s rise together.

Choose those closest to you with care.

This is your precious life.

Who do you want to share it with?