Tuesday, February 08, 2011

anything I can do, I can do better

A few weeks ago my friend and I were talking about how she feels inadequate when she reads blogs. This was not the first time I had heard this comment. I've heard "I wonder how they 'do it all'?" or "is their life really that perfect?" and others. I'll be honest that I often struggle with feelings of envy or inadequacy but, generally, I feel inspired by blogging. That's why I continue to do it.

As I talked to my friend about why blogging made her feel bad, it all boiled down to this one thought. She said, "I see a post about a cute craft or something they made and I think, 'I need to do that too' but when I try to do it, I just don't want to." That's when it occurred to the both of us - she doesn't like doing crafts. And here's the real kicker - that's okay. "Crafting" in this case is interchangable with cooking, sewing, decorating your house, photography, etc. but the real point here is that we shouldn't feel like we need to do something just because someone else is. We can appreciate that someone's cute skirt refashion project turned out really well without feeling like we aren't as great unless we do something equally as "talented".

During our conversation a few things occured to me. Blogging is a wonderful thing and it's a great way for a lot of people to showcase their talents. I love blogs that show design tricks, crafting tutorials and beautiful photography and I admire the bloggers who share them. The problem with this showcase of talents is that people who don't have tangible talents are sometimes left feeling burdened with "I'm not good enough" because they don't have an outlet to express their talent of listening, compassion, friendship or thoughtful service.

No one's life is perfect. If anyone knows that, it's me. There's a reason why most bloggers like to share the best parts of their days, homes and lives. It's because those parts make them happy and, in turn, make their readers happy and the positive comments we receive from readers make us all feel valued. When we read about someone's incredible kitchen makeover (my personal blog envy) or the picture-perfect play house for their beautiful children I think we need to focus on how to be happy with ourselves and the place our lives are in right now. If creating and crafting makes you happy, then do it. And if you're interested in blogging about it, do it. But never feel like you have to live up to something that you think someone can do better than you.

19 comments :

  1. Well said. You totally summed it up!

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  2. I completely agree...well said! I love reading your blog and getting great ideas from you as well =) I especially love your recipes because I love to cook. Thanks for sharing your talents with us!

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  3. I read a great post (I think on Simple Mom) about recognizing the type of mom you are and making it work for you. The number one tip she gave was not comparing yourself to others. That's my personal challenge- I find myself thinking my style of mothering/housekeeping, etc. isn't valid just because it's different than those around me.

    It was a big epiphany for me and then reading this blog post underscored that feeling.

    Amen, sister!

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  4. well said! I only wish I could bake/cook all the yummy things you do! But I can't even make rice and beans let alone cookies!! While going through infertility I blogged the truth on my family blog. I blogged how I really felt. I obviously held certain things back as to not hurt feelings, but in doing so I got a lot of people who didn't like my honesty or the fact that I would share those things. But I get tired of reading blogs who don't share the truth every once in awhile. Their lives always seem picture perfect and we all know that life is far from. I found comfort and relief in reading others infertility struggles knowing I wasn't alone in my pain and feelings. So I say blog who you are! There is a reason my family blog is private because I do share such intimate things, but I LOVE my other blog for the random crafts, recipes...etc. I think most people feel inadequate at times while blog surfing, but you hit the nail on the head. Enjoy your life and what you do. :) You are such a beautiful and talented mamma who has THE cutest little one! :)I too envy kitchen remodels. They are so yummy! But your food makes me salivate and want to hire a chef!!!

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  5. So true. I really appreciate other people's "craftiness" but that just isn't me... if (IF) I have free time I would rather read a book any day!

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  6. Finally! This is exactly how I feel about blogging. All these people I know who are quitting blogging b/c they feel inadequate is silly to me. Your blog is about you and your life and what you wanna write about. I like to write about our fun San Diego adventures that I make into adorable scrapbooks and I cherish them. But I'm not a crafter so I never have that tug on my heartstrings when I see something cute and wanna make it. Thanks for posted this. You said it perfectly and I totally agree. Blogging inspires me to :)

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  7. couldn't have said it better myself.

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  8. thanks for reminding me that it's okay to just be myself, flawed and not terribly tangibly talented. it's so hard to not compare, though comparing is so destructive. motivating thoughts for a Tuesday!

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  9. You have such a way with words Liz! This is just another reason you're why you're my friend! But, seriously it's crazy how this conversation helped. I actually enjoy blogging now, but in a much bigger scheme, my life, I'm more comfortable with me! Ps..crafts stink! Haha, just a joke!

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  10. Plus...there's gotta be someone out there to appreciate and buy the craft right? If all people just made them, who would love and buy them!?!

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  11. great post liz (as usual) ... i linked you up from my blog today .. because ive been writing something similar. :o)

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  12. Liz, you said exactly what I needed to hear. I almost weekly say I'm going to stop blogging and then I re-count all the reasons I like it and change my mind! We all need that crucial reminder that this isn't a popularity or talent contest, this is a source of inspiration and artistry and beauty.

    This made me miss our conversations. Because you know if we were still in college we would have been laying in our beds talking about this ;o)

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  13. So true. I feel like over the years I have learned that there are lots of different ways to do things and you just have to find your own way. Thanks for putting this out there; it's a great reminder.

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  14. Here's the thing I get "jealous" of... TIME! I know everyone has different talents, but I'm just jealous that people actually find time to pursue whatever talent or interest they have! I seriously feel like I have NO time to do anything for myself. I know it's probably just me being negative, but that's what makes me feel a little down when I read people's amazing blogs. Their talents inspire and uplift me but wishing I had time to pursue my own interests makes me envious. Maybe I just need to start reading some blogs about time management... ha ha!

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  15. I sometimes fall victim to this. Even the fact that some people have more blog readers than me. Silly I know, but I am human too. I liked what you said about us not being able to showcase some of our gifts like kindness, serving one another, etc. That is very true. Thanks for sharing these thoughts as I am sure we all struggle with some aspect of it.

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  16. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "Insist on yourself; never imitate. Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life's cultivation; but of the adopted talent of another you have only an extemporaneous half possession...Do that which is assigned to you, and you cannot hope too much or dare too much."

    Thanks for the thoughtful post!

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  17. I do get envious of bloggers, stay at home mom bloggers specially, not so much artistic ones. One time a blogger that I used to follow said in an interview how she can't understand why anyone would continue working when they have a baby. That really hurt my feelings. I work right after my maternity leave is over and i cried for weeks at work. My husband works hard but he cannot support us on his income alone. But one good thing about blogs, you dont have to read them if you dont like them.

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  18. Hi Lizzy,
    Well said! If we didn't compare ourselves through blogging, we find other ways to do it. That is one of the crazy characteristics of women. We cook and we compare.

    Just like marriages take work, so does fighting the urge not to compare yourself with others. It takes deliberate effort.

    I was thinking about this whole blogging thing.. and wrote about it here:

    http://jensfishbowl.blogspot.com/2011/01/blogging-highpe.html

    It's a fascinating phenomenon.

    Thanks for your great blog!!
    Jen

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