As my kids get older, I love the conversations we get to have as they navigate much more complex issues. The other day one of them was working through some feelings and really, just trying to figure out what they were.
They were concerned that the might be jealous of a friend, which they didn’t want to do because they knew that wasn’t right.
Apparently said child is known in their class for their artistic talent. Now there is another student who has shown great talent in this area as well and the other children are making a fuss over her. That left my child with a mess of feelings that we needed to make sense of.
Oh, how I could identify with this one. How easy is it to compare our talents to those of others? As I’ve been pursuing this writing/speaking dream, I can’t help but compare my work to others. It’s easy to admire someone’s work one moment and the next the voices in your head are telling you that you’ll never be as good as that person.
So I began to ask my child questions like:
- Are you friends with this person? (Answer: Yes.)
- Does her talent make you like her less? (Answer: No.)
- Does it make you feel like you’re not as good as you thought? (Answer: Sort of.)
- Does her being good ACTUALLY make you less good? (Answer: I don’t know. I guess not.)
- Do your friends still admire or comment on your work? (Answer: Yes.)
As I suspected, my child had succumbed to the same thing that plagues me on a regular basis when it comes to my dream – insecurity and fear.
Even just walking through those questions was powerful. That’s what happens when we give voice to our fears. We realize how ridiculous they are.
We shouldn’t compare our middle to someone else’s end. Is my writing going to be as good as Karen Kingsbury? Um, of course not. She’s published like 40+ books and I’m writing my first novel.
The talent of others is completely unrelated to our talent. They don’t make me better or worse.
Well, that’s not entirely true. They can make me better, if I can learn from them.
So I asked one final question, “Do you think that she would show you how she draws anime and you could learn too?”
“Yeah, she already has been,” was the answer. Then a slow smile crept across my child’s face – relief, inspiration and wisdom gained.
In case you think you’re the only one struggling with fears and insecurity, head over to nomorevoices.com. You’ll find yourself not so alone.