Dear Self,

This quote caught your eye the other day.

We don’t need to be as creative as each other, we just need to be as creative as God made us. Comparison makes us orphans. – Bob Goff, Love Does

You were skimming through Facebook looking at all the homecoming pictures, and the last of the summer vacations, and that quote stopped you in your tracks. You stopped and read it again, while letting out a deep sigh.

You are a lover of words, especially quotes. You have them in frames, on mirrors, and even in your wallet. You write them down in your journal, you send them in cards, sharing them with others every chance you get. Quotes on friendship, quotes about sunshine, quotes that motivate, and quotes that make you giggle out loud. They are words that change your heart and soul when they are grouped together in such a way, making you feel as you read them that they were meant for you.

That comparison quote has you stopped though. You’ve written it out and have read it several times over the past few weeks, as you’ve found yourself bombarded with circumstances and opportunities to do just what it’s saying not to do. You’re comparing yourself to people and places and circumstances without even realizing it, and it’s pushing you away from the connectedness you long for.

At work. At home. And even through the beloved social media.

Comparison is an ugly thing. It causes doubt, and it steals joy — leaving a trail of sorrow wherever it goes. And yet you can’t seem to shake it.

You are in a profession where “sharing” is key to success. The sharing of documents, ideas, videos, apps, data, charts, books, kids and lunch are things that happen every single day inside the walls of the school you work in. There is no avoiding it. All for one, one for all. Success won’t happen without sharing.

You’re also a mother, ranch wife and friend where creativity is essential for survival and sustainability of your family. You create menus, you share stories and hugs, you make phone calls, you prepare lunches, you feed cows, you sweep-up crap, you wipe down counters, you make beds, you prop open gates, you fold laundry and you listen to the bawling of the weaned calves all night long desperately seeking rest. Success doesn’t happen without giving yourself away, but man is it ever tiring.

You want to be loved. You want to be appreciated. You want to be thanked. You want to give and receive. You want to be creative, clever and full of wit. You want to be just like all the other great people you’re following, and even the people you’re doing real life with because deep down, you think that maybe some of the good they have will rub off on you. And you know what? It probably will. But you have to quit comparing, quit over-analyzing, quit worrying about if the score is even or not, and quit doing that which steals joy, wreaks havoc and leaves you feeling alone.

You can’t always avoid head-to-head challenges or unmet expectations, but you can avoid comparison. Look in the mirror and see who God sees. The uniquely created wonderful you! And go with it. Choose to see what is wonderful, and kick that word “comparison” to the curb. At the end of the day, you’ll realize that the gifts you bring to the world are what matter most and sharing those gifts with others is so much better than being alone.

— Lindsay

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Lindsay Murdock lives and teaches in Echo.

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