Pure Joy Hawaii

Coping with Comparison

Joy Graham1 Comment

Heyyyyyo!  I’m still learning how to blog, but I like the freedom of being able to express whatever is on my mind.  There is something so calming- rejuvenating even, to the writing process.  English was my major in college and I miss rhetorical composition therapy!  On that nerdy note, I’d like to write about one of the biggest challenges that I believe many artists face:  A seemingly harmless thing called COMPARISON.

Don’t let comparison steal your joy!   Some of you may have already seen this meme on Pinterest or some other social media outlet, but these “golden” words continue to resonate positivity and are very worthy of reiteration.  Those who are in Hawaii’s fashion industry are well aware of how flooded the handmade jewelry market is.  It’s pretty easy for designers like myself to get discouraged.  Business aside, this is clearly a quote that can be applied to life in general as well.  Here are a few tips that have helped me to cope with comparison:  know yourself, have an escape, and be your own cheerleader.     

It took me a few years to find my style as a designer.  To narrow my scope, I chose two words to encompass what I wanted to portray: whimsical and gorgeous.  I’m not edgy or beachy or trendy and that’s ok.  Pure Joy Hawaii has its own recognizable “voice” in each piece and collection of jewelry.  Although designs are constantly updated, the overall aesthetic and feel remains true to those two words and the unique style created around them.  So, when I see a new accessory that is stunningly urban-chic, I choose to remember Pure Joy Hawaii’s identity and stand by it.  I do so proudly and without pining for my line to be something it just isn’t.  And this goes for knowing yourself as a person too.                  

At times, it seems like we find it rather difficult to maintain a positive outlook or stay motivated because of comparison.  Social media, or as I like to call it, “the great comparer-izer,” is a common source of this negative tendency.  I’ve heard so many people express how defeated they feel after scrolling through other people’s “perfect” photos on Instagram.  This is why having an escape is so important.  For me, it’s cheffing it up in the kitchen or going to the beach.  When a much-needed break is overdue, I make sure to avoid social media and focus on my escape.  Going to the grocery store and exploring the aisles for new recipe ideas is my way to completely detach from Pure Joy Hawaii.  We all need a break to reboot and restart with a fresh palate.      

Over the years I noticed that my best designs emerged when happy or upbeat music was playing in the background.  I used to be really hard on myself for making mistakes and as such, found massive creative blockages in the design process.  But now, when a mistake is made or something doesn’t turn out the way I expected, I maintain a positive attitude.  In fact, I take it over the top to the level of cheerleading.  Some really awesome designs have come out of mistakes that were made under the “it’s all good Joy, maybe you can turn that weird teardrop shape into a heart!” kind of attitude.  The thing is, I had to make a choice.  Choose to be for or against Pure Joy Hawaii.  So as cheesy as it sounds, turn that frown upside down and pick up those pompoms, because nobody is going to be for yourself like YOU!           

Sizing up the competition is natural.  And at that, getting sized up is normal too. Whether it is our survival instincts kicking in or just plain envy, we all do it.  Comparison can be a great motivator, but it can also be an unhealthy and deconstructive force.  In my seven years designing jewelry, finding balance in this arena has been quite tricky.  Maintaining a positive attitude is intentional and takes practice.  Comparison no longer steals my joy like it used to, and if I ever let that defeated feeling creep in, I know how to remedy it instantly.  If you can relate to this in any way, I hope these tips help to uplift and encourage you.  Oh, and here’s a Pineapple Salsa recipe from my “escape” cooking hobby below.  A chip full of dip always puts me in a good mood!  ;) 




Tostitos lime corn chips (or other corn chips)

3 -4   Whole Large Tomatoes (Diced)

1 C   Fresh Pineapple (Diced)

1/2 C   Red Onions (Minced)

1 Tbsp   Garlic (Minced)

1 Tbsp   Cilantro (Chopped)

2 tsp   White Vinegar

Pepper (dash) or Fresh Jalapenos (Diced) to taste 

2 tsp   Salt (or to taste)



Dice, Mince, Chop, and measure ingredients.   In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and mix.  Serve with chips, a smile, (maybe a corona?) and enjoy! 

*For best results, let sit for an hour before serving