The Murkiness of Comparing-Mind

I share my photographs on Flickr, which was my first encounter with social media. I joined back when it was old school: Not flashy, just plain ole’ photography and rich friendships. A place to learn, share, and be inspired. Even though the format has changed, I still enjoy my Flickr community.

Recently, I received this comment: “I'll never understand how you're able to take such great photos so consistently. Beautiful as always!” I received Mike’s kindness yet needed to respond honestly. There’s no magic or special talent. There’s much practice and experimentation. This was my response:

Thanks for your kind words. Please know I take many photos that aren't great—they're okay or meh. I keep only 10% of what I shoot. But I continue to shoot day after day, experimenting, and noticing. Embracing imperfection and learning from not-great shots is what eventually brings great shots. Social media can be misleading—we believe other people always take great photographs or are always happy. The reality is we're all flawed, imperfect, and beautifully human.

It’s easy for comparing-mind to arise when we view social media. We see a curated version of real life. Our life is messy, yet we perceive the lives of others as clean, tidy, happy, perfect, and beautiful. But our clouded perception is untrue. We all have messy, complicated, and wondrous lives.

My Truth-Tuesday series on Facebook (as well as this blog) are ways to illuminate real, messy, and courageous parts of life. I take many not-great photographs. The ones you see here are curated. I shoot 1000s of images a month and save only 100s. And post only 10. I have many moments when I’m not mindful. I have doubts and fears. And I’m grateful for all of this. It means I’m human, vulnerable, compassionate, and alive.