[Let's Get Real] a cliché


Warning: the contents of this blogpost are full of vulnerability & sappiness. If you don't want to delve in, I suggest you exit out now. Thanks. 

I've known the above to be true for quite some time now. And I vowed to never be a victim of comparison. But here I am, literally a week after I wrote a post about thankfulness, and I'm already having to remind myself of this. Because, let's face it, with Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and blogs, we have access to hundreds of lives...curated to look the most fun and its best.

I think it all started with the latter half of my week to the States. One of my best friends opened a vintage mobile shop, found a community of like-minded creative individuals, and she's doing it big. She lives in a cool house in Long Beach, goes to cool cafes, shops vintage for a living, has a rad bike, and has one of those keychains that hook onto your belt loop...total cool factors right there. Of course I am totally excited for her, but that marked the beginning of an unsettling feeling, which I have now discerned as comparison.

I wasn't comparing myself to her; in fact, the encouragement and advice we can both share in our adventures is something I wouldn't trade for the world. But for some reason, around this time, I began following people on Instagram who are doing similar things to her. Vintage-lovers, artists, photographers, bloggers, small business owners. And they all looked like they had the life. Little bébés, success, amazingly large studios for "work", and endless adventures. It wasn't until this week that I realized what was happening: I was forgetting all of the blessings in my life because of some false impression that Instagram gave me. How silly of me. I recently read a blogpost of how teenagers these days use social media to build their self-esteem. I realized it's no different for adults.

If you take a peek at my journal, you will find pages upon pages of all the things I'm thankful for. I often write about how in awe I am of everything that I've been blessed with: a husband, an amazing community, my family, my friends, the magazine, the list goes on. And yet, with one picture, all of that can be forgotten.

Last night, Mark and I went on a date. We started talking about re.write magazine and how successful it is. I confessed what I had been feeling because of my comparing to others and even some of my fears with re.write...what if this, what if that. "Do those people get to work on an amazing and successful magazine like you and I do?" he asked. I quickly responded, "I don't want to have comparative success. I don't want to feel better just because those people aren't doing what I'm doing...I want the magazine's success to be independent from what others are or aren't doing." Then, we discussed if we thought the magazine "made it." Mark answered with a confident, firm "Yes." I, on the other hand, thought we had a ways to go. If we look at our numbers (Facebook likes, Twitter followers, page hits) compared to a more popular online magazine, then we still have a lot to do. Then, I wondered which one of us had the right approach.

It didn't take long for me to realize how flawed my approach was: I don't want comparative success yet here I am comparing my numbers to another online publication? What?

So I began thinking: what is my measure of success? It's not about numbers or dollar signs. Rather, it's knowing that these stories have impacted lives as well as the way people view God. Has the magazine done that? Why, yes. Yes, it has.

Once I changed the way I measured success, I realized that re.write has made it. And with that, moving forward, whatever re.write-related project we have in store will no longer have this added pressure of will-this-make-it-or-break-it, but rather, let's push the envelope of this already successful magazine to take this vision to greater and greater levels of excellence.

Mark, you were right....again.



Mark said...

Thank you my love. I am so very grateful to be married to such an amazing woman that operates out of that place of humility and grace. re.write is and will be incredible every step of the way. Numbers don't really matter at this point. The only thing that matters is that we keep pushing and stay true to our vision. I'm stoked to be going through this with you! :)

Nida Jooste said...

What a blessing to read this piece. I've been following most of your articles and can identify with each of them in some way- thank you! Beautifully written.
Easier said than done though- especially with the digital media alleys you mentioned. Worth striving for.

clara yoon said...

:) you've captured i think something i've been going through, but i haven't been able to put it into words or make sense of it. ahh comparing and measuring success... these are things that sneakily impact us, thank you Liz for sharing, for being real. re.write is such an amazing magazine - i love reading all the stories, they are so beautiful! miss you!!

melody said...

This. hit. home.

Thank you Liz!