It happened two weeks ago. But really, if I'm honest, I can say this whole comparing thing has been a lifelong condition. But here's how it happened a couple weeks ago.
I was reading a book on the plane to Guatemala. It made me laugh a lot. And some of the words pierced me to my soul. Tears dripped down my cheeks in the plane, and I'm not really all that much of an emotional person. I read the stories and absorbed the wisdom like it was the last thing keeping me sane. When I finished each of the chapters, I felt as though I needed to write the author a personal letter of appreciation and gratitude for writing a book that had to be written solely for me to read.
And then it happened. This moment when a slithery voice just whispered to my heart, "See, this is how it's always going to be. When other people write, it's like Ghirardelli chocolate experience. And when you write...it's just Hershey's. Why do you even try? Just quit writing."
That's all it took to sap the joy from my reading experience. That's all it took to take a moment from a holy experience, to an all about me experience. In that moment, I believed the lie that I'm a second-rate kind of person, just struggling to accomplish my goals while everyone else skates on by...and of course does everything awesome the first time. And it totally sucked all of my confidence.
It's not just writing either. I find myself comparing myself to other people in almost every aspect of my life. I want to look as put together as the other girl at work. Or I want to be as good on the treadmill as the guy running his heart out next to me. Or I want my house to look just like the Pottery Barn catalog. Pretty soon, when those sort of thoughts run amok in my heart and mind, I realize I'm living a joy-less existence.
I'm not living a story that's already been lived. I am who I am for a reason, and there's no reason for me to be ashamed that I haven't done as much or accomplished the same things as someone else. I'm not supposed to be anyone else. God's given me a unique journey...and I think if I can remember that a little more often, I might find a little more joy in my life. And, let's be honest, sometimes a Hershey's kiss can be just as good as some Ghirardelli's. Just depends on the perspective. :-)
Ashley Mays is the former Editorial Assistant for Brio and Brio & Beyond magazines and currently writes her own fiction for teens. She enjoys rock climbing, people watching in airports, and expanding her shoe collection. Ashley lives with her husband in Colorado. No, they don't ski. Learn more about Ashley on facebook or on her website: http://www.ashley-mays.com/.