Stop Comparing, Start Living

Here I am. As silly as this seems, it’s actually quite monumental. There’s a quote on the front of my journal that reads, “You have to feel confident that your story is different.” and that’s exactly what I’m learning to do here at Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival. Not only am I learning how to deal with having a different story and handling the questions and raised eyebrows – I’m learning to embrace that my story is different despite all the outside reactions.

I am 21. I am going to be a freshman in college next year at the University of Michigan. I am proud of this. My story is different – and I’m so thankful that it is different; not only that it is different than other people’s, but more importantly, that it is different than it was 2 years ago at this time. God is so, SO good!!

I digress. It’s only the second full day of camp but everything here seems really great! I love my chamber group – we have a really awesome dynamic and our personalities all mesh well! I think we’ll be able to do some awesome work over the next 4 weeks!

I AM LEARNING! I am learning so much! Not just musically, but about myself! This transition has been far easier than I ever anticipated! I just kind of showed up, unpacked, and things just flowed smoothly from there! I am using my voice, speaking up for myself, and asking lots of questions!

Plot twist: the food is actually very good here! Such a change from camps I’ve been to in the past – and a HUGE relief!

Last night, I was sitting in studio class and listening to another member of my studio perform some pieces and it hit me how far I’ve come confidence-wise. Hearing this piece performed so well would have simply unnerved me in the past – made me anxious and nervous, unsure of myself. Lots of “I won’t ever be able to be that good” type of thoughts. Not this time. I was able to sit in the audience and genuinely ENJOY his performance! It was great!

So I realized: When I stopped comparing, I started living!

When I stopped obsessing over what others are doing, where they are, how they are, and constantly putting myself up against them – I found that I am able to enjoy where I am in the moment and revel in my own successes – however different they may be in comparison to those around me. Despite other’s success, I am finding that I, too, am able to be successful and happy in many different ways.

My confidence has sky rocketed because I know whenever I walk into a musical environment – be it a lesson, coaching, rehearsal, and even private practice session, that it’s okay to make mistakes and that I’m still learning and growing. There’s no mistake which can’t be corrected or undone and music is about development, not only musically, but individually which includes emotional and mental development!

When you stop comparing yourself to everyone else and start speaking up and asking questions it’s as if the whole world opens up to you – possibilities are endless and you learn SO MUCH more than ever before! You make progress much faster when you aren’t comparing yourself! This is the time when it’s okay to be hopelessly selfish – your life is about YOUR journey ad how you develop and grow!

This is one of the most vital and beneficial lessons that we can learn. I am overflowing with gratitude for the way God has taught me and continues to teach me each and every day! Carry on my friends! And remember: when you stop comparing your progress, story, situation, life, etc with those around you – that’s when you will TRULY start LIVING!!

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