Another Geek’s Success Is Not Your Failure: How To Take Your Joy Back

As geeky bloggers in a particular kind of niche, there’s so many opportunities to look over at our fellow bloggers and compare ourselves and our work to theirs. Next thing we know, we’re spiraling down a negative path of “what if’s” and our hearts are full of uncertainty. That blogger is reaching more people than you; that blogger is getting more comments than you. That blogger just quit their job to blog full time; that blogger is bringing in a six figure salary on their blog alone! The comparison goes on and on until we are in such a low place that our self esteem has taken a massive hit.

I personally find comfort in knowing that most of us have been there at some point in time. We aren’t alone in these feelings. We all have let comparison steal our creative weirdness and love of all things geeky at some point. We have all burned ourselves out competing in one-sided competitions whether that be with a stranger online or ourselves. Why are we letting comparison steal our joy of writing and creating?

There are many reasons why we compare ourselves to others in a negative way, some that are deeply personal to us and only us, but one of the biggest reasons is that we are insecure about ourselves or our work or both. This insecurity can stem from our childhoods, relationships, or just how we view ourselves. It doesn’t take a singular or traumatic event to make us insecure either. We are human and flawed. Sometimes are thoughts and emotions aren’t logical. As someone with anxiety, I have to remind myself daily that my anxious thoughts aren’t always logical.

Just like with my own negative thoughts, I use self talk as a way to think out what I’m feeling when I find myself spiraling in a comparison nightmare. I remind myself that even if I have those thoughts initially, it’s the thoughts and actions afterward that will define me. After a conversation with my wonderful husband, I was able to think back on my therapy and use his advice to come up with 5 ways to take my joy back.

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Your journey is your journey; it’s not a competition.

We all come from different walks of life and experiences. Your journey is not like anyone else’s. Maybe all of the pieces haven’t quite fallen into place yet or you’re feeling like you’ve hit rock bottom. The person you’re comparing yourself to is in a different situation than you are. Reminding ourselves that we should keep working towards our own goals in our own time is a good way to check in with ourselves.

You’re way cooler than your feed.

We open up Instagram and see someone looking like they are just living it up: taking vacations, splurging on yummy meals, wearing the latest trends, etc. and suddenly we feel inadequate. Our feed isn’t near as exciting as theirs! Just about everyone on the internet and social media has created an online persona. Whether that persona is a show or more true to yourself, one thing is certain: you are way cooler than the way you present yourself on Instagram or any other social media platform. Don’t let someone’s exciting vacation or colorful feed sway you into thinking you aren’t a cool person and therefore undeserving of a “cool” life.

Your blog is unique and different; it’s not worthy of comparison.

“Not being worthy of comparison” might sound like a jab in your direction if you’re not used to seeing that phrase. If that’s a bit much to wrap your head around, think about the word “incomparable.” Incomparable is defined as “without an equal in quality or extent; matchless.” Still with me? Your blog, your creative weirdness, you geeky hobbies etc. are not able to be compared because there is no equal to all of the things that make you… you! Your blog is a reflection of you. Your creative weirdness is a reflection of you. And yes, those geeky hobbies are a reflection of you. And there’s no other you out there to be compared to!

Remember your why & purpose.

Why did you start writing? What are your goals? It’s time to reassess your why and purpose if you have found yourself falling down a comparison rabbit hole. Physically write down the reason you first started writing and creating. Consider how it makes you feel. Write down your current goals and assess them. Are you still happy with the goals you’ve set or do you need to re-evaluate them? There’s no shame in going back to your roots and visualizing your original why and purpose.

Choose where your energy goes.

Choosing where your energy goes sounds easier than it actually is. If therapy taught me anything, it was choosing how to direct negative thoughts in an unhealthy situation. Comparison spirals are unhealthy situations so how do we re-direct our energy and thoughts? Instead of letting someone’s success lead you down a negative path of comparison, why not let it motivate you?  You can accomplish any and all of your goals so let their milestone be your motivation to work towards those goals. Another option for redirecting your energy is to simply acknowledge all of that person’s hard work. Tell them congratulations, and let them know how proud you are of them. Maybe they will be open to sharing with you how they met that particular milestone!

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You can spend a lifetime of wallowing in comparison and feeling unworthy. If you take anything away form this post, I hope you realize that you are unique. There’s only one of you in all of the galaxy. If you allow comparison to continue to steal your joy, you will be depriving everyone around you of your very own creative weirdness and unique perspective. Let go of the negative self talk and continue on your own journey. Each journey is unique and worthy so why would yours follow someone else’s timeline?

If you are currently struggling with your mental health, please reach out to a friend/family member and check out these resources:

Have you ever let comparison steal your joy? What did you do to take it back? Share advice in the comments that have helped you!

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43 thoughts on “Another Geek’s Success Is Not Your Failure: How To Take Your Joy Back

  1. This is so true and so important to remember! Thank you for this!

    I personally avoid social media for the comparison issues that it brings up but when you run a blog and want to engage with the community it is hard to keep your sense of self separate from the blog you are writing!

    A great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is all excellent advice. I used to feel a bit bummed out that my current site has a fraction of the reach I had when I was working in the commercial games press, but over time I became more and more conscious of the fact that I’m attaining far more personal satisfaction and pride in what I do than I ever did back when it was my “job”.

    Would I love to make MoeGamer my actual job? Sure, that would be a dream come true. But in the meantime, I can continue to do what I feel is “setting a good example” — if I create what I enjoy both creating and reading, chances are that there are other people out there who want to read what I’ve created, too. And indeed that’s proven itself to be true over time — though I’d still be doing this even if my viewing figures were a fraction of what they are.

    The modern world has set a lot of people up to expect “instant fame”, and when that instant fame doesn’t happen, it can feel frustrating and make you want to compare yourself to others in a negative way. Ultimately it’s important to remember why you started a creative endeavour in the first place; as you say, remembering what makes you and your project unique is critical. And sticking to those things is worth it in the long run.

    Realistically and regrettably, not everyone is going to be able to “make it” with their passion projects in terms of generating a sustainable income from them — but that’s by no means a reason to give them up. If anything, I find it far more admirable to see how hard people work on things they get little or no compensation for; you know that those people are doing their best for the simple love of what they do. They absolutely deserve to be rewarded for their hard work, but you know the possibility of a reward is *not* why they’re doing it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Personal satisfactions trumps views for me any day! That’s actually why I decided to expand on what I was writing about on my blog. After taking my break, I knew when I came back, I needed to make sure I was happy with what I was writing about.

      I truly hope anyone that comes across this post has the same reaction as you: write about what you love and makes you happy, and the readers will come. Will it lead to a full time job, travel, fame?… It’s unlikely, but there’s so much more to being “us” than popularity. ❤

      Thank you for sharing your experiences Pete. I always look forward to your comments on these posts.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I literally wrote a post on this just the other month! Giving myself a proper good talking to about how I always played the comparison game. I think it happens a lot. I have a bloody awful way of comparing myself to other bloggers but yeah I try my very best not to now! I think it’s only going to happen more as social media is an ever present thing in our lives much more than it is even for people who don’t make their livelihoods online. Thanks for sharing. Agree with every single bit of it!

    Writing into the Ether

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I noticed an big uptick in some posts and tweets from my fellow bloggers about feeling down about their stats compared to others, and it lead to the writing of this post. I really wanted to provide some solutions for when we all start getting those feelings of inadequacy. I definitely agree that social media has made this issue even worse now that we have media literally at our finger tips.

      Thanks so much for sharing your perspective Amy! I love your blog by the way. ❤

      Like

  4. This was very encouraging to read. Thank you for the fresh perspective! 🙂 I’ve definitely found myself in that comparison mode several times over the past year and not focusing enough on what is going well. As someone who also struggles with anxiety on the daily, it’s a very slippery slope!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The timing is apt with your post. I saw that you read my latest post about how I feel about various fans while dealing with my own sadness on the issue. It’s going to take a while for me to get better, but it’s good to know that I shouldn’t be so concerned.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Awesome post Megan — one I’ll no doubt want to come back to and refer to again in the future.

    Right now, I don’t have any comparison anxiety style issues. I’m more than happy to recognise my place as a relative novice, and learn what I can from whom I can. If I envy anyone at the moment? It’s my past self. I’ve had some posts that ‘blew up’ in my old MMO blogger days, including having a WoW Cataclysm Warrior change guide referenced by WoW Insider — a big deal at the time, and resulted in >50k hits in a single day.

    I don’t know that I’ll ever beat that again. If my reason for returning to the blogging fold had been anything externally motivated like that, I think I’d already be done. My desire to create a chronicle of my gaming (for now, potentially geekery more generally in the future) is the goal. I admire the hell out of the bloggers I know who have been at it for 10+ years and have a crazy amount of history as a result.

    But for all that, I think I’d be crazy not to acknowledge that this might one day be an issue. I can’t say how I might feel, 2, 3, 5+ years down the track if another novice comes in and sweeps the blogosphere by storm without ‘paying their dues’. I’d like to think at this end of that timeline it’d be fine — but who knows. So! Bookmarked. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad to hear that you’ve set meaningful goals for your blog! When it comes to comparing ourselves, it’s always good to check back in with those goals. I think it’s honestly a healthy thing that you haven’t experienced comparison stealing your joy. I truly hope you don’t need this article for a long, long time. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Love this! I definitely get anxiety over comparison from time to time. I usually just unplug for a while and take a walk, That always helps to clear my mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow, I really needed this one this week! Thank you! You are so right we get so caught up in the comparisons that we lose track of our why and our passion. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. So happy you voiced what I’ve been thinking all along! I’m on Social for business. I truly don’t care how many likes and followers others have. What I do care about is how they get them. I look at their posts, their photography, their content, etc and evaluate how that info might help me. Nice post!
    phillis | https://fatjackscoffee.com

    Liked by 1 person

  10. So happy you voiced what I’ve been thinking all along! I’m on Social for business. I truly don’t care how many likes and followers others have. What I do care about is how they get them. I look at their posts, their photography, their content, etc and evaluate how that info might help me. Nice post!
    phillis | https://fatjackscoffee.com

    Like

  11. Thank you so much for this post!! Right now I am trying to reach a goal for my blog by September and I am moving slowly watching others reach their goals. Need to focus on what more I can do for myself and what I am not doing. Getting started now!!
    MMMoffamilyentertainment.com

    Liked by 1 person

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