I spend a lot of time thinking about how average I am -- how in the grand scheme of things, the world and the universe, I am just one tiny speck. And I think about how much of an impact my life actually makes. Sometimes I feel so creative as an individual; I have my moments of clarity as if to see my own soul and say to myself, “Yes, this is me, and this is what I’m supposed to do and it is wonderful and amazing.” But most of the time I feel like I am nothing. There’s a constant notion, I wouldn’t even say it’s a fear, but this solid conviction that there will always be someone out there who is more creative than me, more intelligent than me, more beautiful than I am, more grounded than I am, kinder than me, more successful than me. Virtually everything that I am, I feel that there is someone better at it than I am. Which is a crazy thought to have, and it doesn’t necessarily make sense because how can another person be better than I am at being me? I know it’s unhealthy to compare myself to others because they just aren’t me, but it’s so difficult not to.

Being in this mindset of constant comparison can be exhausting, and it can pile up to a point where you forget who you are and who you’re trying to become. It’s unhealthy, and everyone knows it, so why stay worrying about other people when you’ve got yourself to take care of? Being around people who are different than you shouldn’t be scary, it should be encouraging. Everyone has different strengths, talents, and interests that influence others in different ways. Each and every person is like a collaborative masterpiece of all the people they’ve met and experiences they’ve had. It’s okay to be like other people because other people are who give us inspiration to grow and change. Who you are now may be different than who you want to be in the future, just as the person you were a year ago isn’t who you are today!

When I moved to New York three years ago for college, I discovered so many creative possibilities because of the people I was surrounded by. At times it can be intimidating with so many talented people around you because they’re more advanced and skilled than you are. You shouldn’t feel discouraged when you see people your age who seem more successful than you are. Other people’s work might be beyond your own level because they’ve had more experience. You just have to practice more and perfect your skills. We all learn and grow at different paces, and that’s okay. Allow yourself to grow at different paces than others without feeling like you’re better or worse because of it.

You might tear yourself down because someone else came up with an idea that you feel like you could have or should have executed better, or you simply think their work is better than yours. But you can’t compare your own work to others because we all have our own personal style.

There’s just no need to want to be better than other people, and there’s certainly no need to feel jealous. Stop telling yourself you’re not good enough, and instead, take that distance you feel from other people and let it motivate you to improve yourself. Start seeing yourself as equal to that level of greatness that you see in other people.