No matter how confident you may be, there’s always going to be that moment of self doubt where your inner critic tries to convince you that you’re not good, pretty, or talented enough.
I don’t really know how to start this, but it’s something that’s been on my mind for weeks now and with the topic popping up on two blogs that I follow, I just feel like bringing it up here because I just have so many thoughts and comments about it. The topic is comparison, specifically what I’m calling the comparison of success, as in, comparing yourself to other people in terms of how successful you are. Success is a very hard thing to gauge, because success can mean so many different things to so many different people. But I see it as how much you’ve accomplished with your life in a short amount of time. Not to say it can’t take a while for one to be successful, but for the purpose of continuing exploring the discussion brought up by the two blogs I read, I’m just going to leave it as that.
This topic was first bought to my attention by Shannon from Awash With Wonder. She wrote a post entitled The Comparison Blues, Insecurity Monster, And What To Do About Them, where she spoke about stumbling across someone’s blog that she thought was so amazing that she found herself comparing her work to what she was seeing this other blogger do on their blog. She states how she began to doubt her abilities as a blogger, writer and creative, and think that she wasn’t nearly as talented as this other blogger was. She began to look at all these other bloggers and see their successes, whether is was thousands of followers or the fact that they have a book deal, and she began to question why she hasn’t gotten those things yet. Inevitably, this is where the vicious cycle of comparison begins to stir and she found herself really depressed by all of these negative thoughts.
Recently, a similar thing happened to another blogger, Katie from Scarphelia. A couple of her most recent posts, Blog-toxing and FOROOT: The Fear of Running Out of Time, both deal with how the constant presence of social media in her life was bringing about all of these negative thoughts and feelings about herself and her own life. She writes about seeing all of her online peers doing all of these amazing things while she recently dropped out of uni and just spent her whole day doing absolutely nothing productive. These negative thoughts and feelings brought about by comparing herself to others sort of stalled her inspiration and creativity, and she felt as if she weren’t at the same level of success as her peers.
In both instances, I can completely relate. There are a lot of times when I see others doing these amazing things at my age or often even younger than I am and I feel like what I’m doing with my life isn’t up to par with what I should be doing. It often makes me feel like I’m not doing much with my time and that’s a scary thought…that I could be doing more. I then begin to wonder why I’m not doing more and it really always comes down to the idea that all of these other people are smarter and more talented than I. I sort of begin to cycle down into all of these negative thoughts and feelings about myself and it’s very hard to pick myself back up.
But everyone goes through this at some point. I think it’s most prominent during your twenties when you’re just trying to figure yourself out and what you may want to do with your life. It’s often very stressful because you feel like you only have a very small window of time to make up your mind. As Katie so perfectly summed it up, you feel like you’re running out of time. It’s not so much as missing out on things, it’s really that you feel like you don’t have enough time to do all of the things you want to do, let alone think of all the things you’d like to do. Sometimes I just feel like I’m not doing all the things I wanted to have done yesterday fast enough. So when you see others accomplishing so much, it’s sort of the natural response to doubt yourself.
There are ways to get over this urge to constantly compare yourself to others. Like Shannon, I find that I have to remind myself, “is what that other person has something I want?” “Do I want whatever success they have, or do I want something else entirely?” It’s really fascinating that most of the time I don’t actually want what that person has. Like, I don’t want to get married or get my PHD in science when I don’t even like science, or whatever else everyone around me are being successful at. I don’t really want their type of success, I want my own, which I think really is the root of it all.
We want to be successful in our own way, but we still want it to seem better than our friends. And there still lies the comparison. We don’t mean it in a bad or negative way either, we just want to feel like we’re moving forward in a way that is socially acceptable…that makes us feel good because other’s say and think we are good. It’s just a matter of accepting this and not letting it affect you, which is hard. It’s almost like I have to keep myself “in check” and remind myself of what I want and not care what other’s should want of me.
And should that approach not work to lift your spirits, I always try to gain inspiration from it. I will be honest here, when I see someone doing something that’s so great and I begin to question why I’m not that great or talented or whatever, I always try to stop myself and reassess the situation. I ask myself, “what is it that that person has done that I’m so envious of?” and once I figure that out, I ask myself “well, can’t I do it too?” At this point I try and copy what that other person has done, only to prove to myself that I can indeed do what that other person has been so successful at doing and once I’ve accomplished that, I don’t feel so bad about myself. I begin to see and use what that other person’s done as inspiration, as my drive to be better and do more. And that’s the key really, to be able to turn a negative feeling into a positive empowered one.
I’ve been slowly getting deep into the planner world and the vast community on Instagram and Facebook. Planners are everywhere now, so much so that when the trend started out, planner nerds used scrapbooking materials to sort of “micro-scrap” in their planners. But now, scrapbooking companies are making their own planners! I don’t own many planners. I only have two: an A5 mint Kikki K and a Personal–or medium–sized Lilac and Gold Kikki K. But of course, I’m itching to get a few more.
Recently, I’ve stumbled across the amazing ways you can use a Midori Traveller’s Notebook. I’ve heard of the Midori a while back–I think even before I got into binder-style planners–but it never caught on with me. They’re really just a piece of leather with a bunch of elastic strings that hold small kraft notebooks. It’s a very simple notebook and I never really saw myself using one. But recently, I came across them again on Christy Tomlinson’s new planner Instgram. She posted this lovely photo of a bunch of Midori’s that she made out of fabric using a tutorial on Youtube. She mentions two separate videos, so extremely curious now–because her FauxDori’s are beautiful–I went to Youtube to look up those videos.
The first video is from The Reset Girl. It’s about an hour video explaining what a Midori Traveller’s Notebook is, showing all the different options for getting a notebook cover and inserts, where to get these covers, inserts and accessories, and explaining way in which you can go about using the notebook. It’s such a great video. It’s so in depth and explains everything. I really felt like I knew enough about the Midori after watching her video that I went onto the second video, which is the DIY tutorial of how to make your own Midori.
This video is from Sea Lemon. She shows us a very simple and easy way to make a Midori. She gives a list of materials you’ll need to make the notebook and most of it you can find in any craft store like Michaels and Joanns.
I made my FauxDori’s a little differently. If you remember, I make these really neat junk journals from fabric and paper scraps that I use as travel journals. I made a bunch of them. I have a few for sale then two I made for myself to use on upcoming trips. But recently I realized that my next trip to Southeast Asia will be much too long to document in just one of my junk journals. Realistically, I’d need to bring two of them with me (each notebook has two notebook signatures in them, totaling four notebooks), and as a traveller who likes to pack lightly, I just couldn’t justify carrying two of those notebooks with me.
Enter the Midori. I figured I’d try it out for a bit and see if it makes more sense to bring a Midori with me instead of my regular junk journal. With the Midori, I can just pack an extra notebook insert and add it to my Midori notebook when I need too. And since Midori’s are a bit expensive, I figured that I could just make my own. Now, I didn’t want a leather Midori. I’m not too fond of leather notebooks. Generally it’s very hard to find colorful leather and since I didn’t have leather on hand, I decided to make my Midori from fabric. I used canvas for mine which I purchased at Michaels, and since I have all of these colorful fabric swatches that I use for my junk journals, I decided to combine the two ideas and make a junk journal FauxDori. I basically assembled my cover the same way I do my junk journal covers, except I changed the dimensions to reflect that of a Midori-styled notebook. Once I had my cover done, all I had to do was gather some scrapbook and graph paper, and made my inserts–these little saddle-stitched notebooks–that I can easily slip in and out of my Midori. I added a little charm I made on my elastic band and my notebook was done!
I only made two covers so far and tons of notebook inserts to put into them. My first cover (the teal one) was a bit sloppy only because I had no idea what I was doing, and my second was just a little better, but I feel like the more I make them, the better they will be. With the second cover, I hand painted and stamped the colorful pattern straight onto the canvas, which added a bit more time to the process. Honestly, making yourself a FauxDori is probably the easiest and most cost effective way to owning your own Midori Traveller’s Notebook. It’s probably the only planner notebook out there that you can easily DIY at home and really make it unique to you. I think that’s what ultimately appealed to me, the fact that I have full control on customization, from my handmade cover to all the inserts that are so simple to stitch up. So, if you’re looking to try out a Midori and are cool with a fun DIY project, I definitely suggest making your own FauxDori and try it out for yourself!
Ever since I got into scrapbooking, I always make sure to scrap my trips. Before, I would always take a journal with me on those trips, but I was never really conscious about using them. To be quite honest, I’d forget about them and simply take hundreds of photos instead, then maybe document my trip from memory once I got back home. But since becoming a scrapbooker, I’ve gotten much better at documenting my trips, especially on the go.
Remember this little video I made of my Greek Remains of the Day journal when I had first finished making it? That was the journal I was going to use for my “Greek Myth Trip” that I (at the time) had been planning on going on. Well, back in September, I went on that trip and I brought that journal with me, along with a a small ziplock bag of embellishments, add-on journal cards, washi tape sample cards, clips, glue dots and a few colorful pens. It was the first time that I really documented on the go. It was very hard not having all my supplies with me and I also found spacing out my journaling to leave room for my photos that I was going to add on later when I got back home was quite challenging. But I did it and it came out quite well!
My journal is rather thick now that all the pamphlets, ticket stubs, business cards and photos are all in! I was able to document my entire trip in one journal. I got a lot of compliments on my journal while away. All my trip mates in one of the group tours I was on really liked it and loved the idea of scrapbooking my trip like I was. They were even more impressed that I had made the journal myself.
I learned how to make these types of journals from Mary Ann Moss in her Remains of the Day online class. They are made from fabric and paper scraps. I’ve since made lots of these little 6×8 journals, changing a few things here or there and adding a bit of my own flair to them. Like, instead of using a wrap-around tie closure, my most recent journals use velcro. I also don’t use scraps, but fabric sample swatches and 12×12 scrapbook paper that I cut down to size. I also really like adding graph paper to my journals to have some nice room for journaling. I just adapted what I learned in the class to suit my own style. I find that these sorts of journals are great for traveling, using as art or “smash” junk journals and mini scrapbooks. They’re great gifts and if you’re interested, I have a few I made for sale in my shop!
I made a little flip through of my filled Greek Myth Trip 2014 travel junk journal so that you can get a better look at how it all turned out. I didn’t film all the pages, just the first half of it. I really love how this turned out and am looking forward to documenting my other trips this way in the future.