This morning I spent an hour trying to take the perfect picture with my professional camera. And when it looked ridiculously stupid (because I don’t take pictures for a living and still have so much left to learn), I found myself sniffling, scrolling through failed photos, feeling my self-worth plummet to the floor. I felt unworthy. I felt behind. I felt like there were thousands of other people in the world far better, far more capable, and doing far better than I am (which there are and that’s okay, but I’ll get to that in a moment.)
Sitting there I just felt so frustrated with myself. I let the fact that I couldn’t get the angle right, the composition perfect, the photo looking like a professional model get me down. And honestly, writing this right now sucks. Because I (like all of us – am I right?!) doesn’t want to show this part of ourselves to the world. It’s embarrassing. It’s silly. It makes me feel like a childish brat, saying that I almost cried because I couldn’t take a picture correctly. But that’s not the point I’m getting at here.
The point is, I was so busy comparing myself—trying to be a photographer, writer, social media guru, Instagrammer, blogger, etc. etc. etc. all at once, that I lost sight of the truth—I can’t be everything.
When we think we have to have the ‘best’ social media page, the ‘highest’ number of views, the ‘biggest’ following, the ‘top’ photos, etc. we forget that life’s not a competition. Becoming who we are is not a competition. Using our talents is not a competition.
There are going to be hundreds, thousands even, that are better than us. But honestly, that shouldn’t matter. Because there is only one you, one me. Because our battle in life is not about beating everyone else out, but finding what makes our hearts sing and letting ourselves fall so deeply into whatever that thing is.
Life is about embracing our messes, finding our passions, following our dreams and somehow carving our little niche in this world along the way. It’s not about thinking we have to stretch ourselves thin trying to be everything. It’s not about reaching for this unobtainable perfect, and feeling like a failure when we don’t make it. It’s not about being perfect at all, but being. Being whatever we were made to be, and learning to love that person in spite of every flaw.
The truth is, God made each and every one of us uniquely. We each have something special we bring into this world, but when we’re so caught up comparing and chasing everyone else’s dreams, writing everyone else’s stories into our lives, we forget that.
I forgot, this morning, that perhaps my purpose is not to be a professional photographer, Instagram model, social media superstar, etc. but to be a writer. To pour my heart out. To be silly. To take pictures that are imperfect and disheveled and unedited and slightly off-center because that’s truly who I am.
I don’t know if you struggle with the constant comparison, if you’re always looking out and around you instead of within. I don’t know if you’re feeling inadequate because there’s some small way you don’t measure up, or if you’re scared to even take a step because you don’t want to fall down.
I just hope you know that others are right with you, feeling those same self-hindering feelings. I just hope you know that the little voice in the back of your mind isn’t always right. I just hope you know that you’re not supposed to be every single thing in the world—there is something you are good at, and when you discover it, you’ll bloom. But just because you aren’t the top, the best, the ultimate at every single thing you try doesn’t make you a failure. Remember that.
And take that off-center selfie.
You’re perfectly imperfect as you are.