Friday, February 26, 2010

Greater than, less than, or equal to and why it really doesn't mater.

I was reading this post, My 25 Biggest Mistakes at Two Photogs and made it all the way to number three before nodding my head in agreement.
"Not having confidence in my work. If you haven’t really talked to me in about 3 years, you would be amazed with the change. When I was first starting out, I had very little confidence in my work. I put on a brave face with clients, but I was constantly comparing myself to other photographers, and falling short. Even when I had been in business for awhile, doubts plagued me. Now I’m not saying that today I think I’m a rockstar, but I believe in myself and I know that I can do whatever I set my mind to. I can be just as good as anybody else."

You're probably asking yourself how a post relating to a mistake in my photography business found it's way to my personal blog. The answer? In reading number three over and over again I realized something. I lack confidence in every part of my life. I'm not just looking at other photographers and comparing my work to theirs and being overcome with self doubt. I'm reading blogs to see how mine stacks up and feeling completely out of my league. I'm looking in the mirror and judging my tiny nose and big round face. I'm looking at the size of my jeans and scolding myself for not being better at being thin.

I wouldn't normally consider myself to be of a "less than" mindset, but I've never considered myself "greater than" either. I think I've always been sort of maybe "equal to", or at least had the potential to be "equal to". But as I really thought about how I feel about myself, my art, myself as a parent, wife, and friend, I found that I do feel "less than". This feeling of less than isn't truth, but it is the dialog that goes on in my head. It's a nasty little habit of considering what I have to offer as being not enough. I see glimpses of this same habit in my mother and my daughter. It is a learned behavior I picked up from my mother and unknowingly passed on to Erin. This pattern of behavior can go almost unnoticed. It's hidden in the risks I don't take, the compliments I brush off, and the self depreciating comments I make under my breath. The most difficult part of this mindset is the constant comparison of myself to others. I equate others success with my failure. If they are amazing then I must be horrible. But that is not truth either. There is more than enough space for each of us to be amazing.
I find this "less that" attitude to be even more severe when I've spent too much time on the internet. While I praise the ability of the world wide web to bring us all together, it creates an environment full of hype and fluff where almost everyone is trying to look better than they really are. If you're a person who has any amount of "less than" in you the world wide web will only magnify it unless of course you finally come to the conclusion that none of it really matters anyway. While I am comparing myself to this person or that person they are comparing themselves to someone else who is probably also comparing. It's an endless cycle and a pointless exercise. Maybe you already know this secret. Maybe this entire post has been an affirmation of what you already knew or maybe, just maybe, you too needed to be reminded that you are the one and only beautiful-amazing you and there is no comparison.


Jen said...

You have been and always will be "greater than" to me. I have never thought of you in any other way. Don't let yourself fall into that crap. But, I admit that I constantly do it to myself too. I think that everyone does. And, I'm pretty sure that even those people that we look at that have it all together, they are also comparing some part of themselves to someone else. You're right, it is an endless, vicious cycle. That's why we need great people in our lives that will speak the truth to us. You, Sandy, are an amazing woman with joy and talent beyond compare.

Brandy said...

What a beautifully written post. I think so many people struggle with this, and just don't admit it. Thanks for writing it!

Sandra said...

Aww Jen, I heart you. :) I think you're a pretty amazing woman too! Amazing is in each of us if we will just put down the walls long enough to let others see it.

Brandy, thank you for the comment and for the amazing part you play in the Two Photogs blog. I'm always inspired by your blog and photography. BTW Brandy is my twin sisters name. :)

aola said...

I was going to say what Jen said.. I've always, always felt you were a "greater than" kind of gal and I'm sorry you have the "less than" dialog going on in your head because it just is not true!

I don't do it as much these days as I used to - being old does have a few rewards.

Sandra said...

Thank you Aola. It seems so interesting to me that others could have a completely different picture of me than the one I see of myself.