Sunday, July 13, 2014


Comparison is a creativity killer.  And, a self-worth killer.

I find myself stuck in comparison mode.  During my recent browsing of internet bead sites/contests/communities, I became aware of playing the comparison game.  Seeing all of the gorgeous beadwork there, I was inspired to try some additional techniques with my work.  Especially layering.  But I also began to doubt my own value as an artist.

Seeing one of my collage necklaces from twenty years ago (here's my post on this), reminded me of what I used to love most about bead embroidery - pulling lots of different things together to create a whole.  But I don't seem to work like this very often anymore.  And I'm not sure why...  I began to think of the work I do now as technically sound, but rather simple.  One dimensional.  Pretty, but efficient.

Comparison becomes deadly, though, when I compare myself to other beadwork artists.  Yikes.

There is some GORGEOUS GORGEOUS GORGEOUS bead embroidery and beadweaving examples on the interwebs right now.  Major competitions are underway or recently completed.  I love that these venues expand awareness of bead artists do!

But I find myself lacking.  Feeling not productive enough.  Not risk-taking enough.  Not creative enough. 

Notice the commonality here?  Not. Enough.

The danger to my creativity is in using a comparison with other artists as a front, an explanation, for what's really going on, the deeper issue that challenges my sense of self-worth.

I have a relationship with a family member that is...let's say, complicated.  And, often, painful.  When I can limit my exposure, I can maintain my sanity, my perspective.  I can control the pain.  Most of all, I can hold on to my balance.  I know my value.  I can recognize that while my father has influenced every aspect of my life, he does not define my life. 

Because he is ill, I feel like I should visit more often.  I can say I'm going for his benefit, but really, I'm going for mine.  In a quest to become enough.

In this relationship, I will never feel like enough.  I should, but I don't.

"Should" is my first clue that something deeply emotional is going on.  When I'm in should-mode, I'm not acting in my best interest but in somebody else's.  I'm stuck in somebody else's shit.  "Should" comes from lack, which never helps the quest to feel like enough.  In beadwork or in relationships. 

My solution?  No more comparison.

It really is that simple.  It's remembering that apples and oranges are wonderful parts of the fruit salad, each with their own flavor.  You don't need an apple to eat an orange.  Or vice versa.  One is enough without the other.  One is wonderful without the other.  Good together.  Good apart.  

And besides, I'm really more of a blueberry.



  1. I'm frustrated with BlogSpot. I write a comment and then it disappears into cyberspace, never to be seen again. Oh well, maybe the re-write will be better.

    You are an amazing, creative, intelligent and beautiful woman. I know, because I read your blog :-)

    Comparisons are a tricky business. They can motivate and also crush the spirit. What I dislike most about comparisons are the resulting judgements. Let those who are free of sin cast the first stone. Who am I to judge another? Our standard societal world view now embraces competition and comparison, rather than cooperation and compassion. Making the world a cruel and heartless place isn't my idea of progress.

    You will find your joy again, and then the opinions of other's won't matter much anymore. The creative beaded path is never far away, perhaps it is obscured for now but you will find your way back to it.

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