Trials + Tourniquets


She looked across the table from me. With scattered remains of tortilla chips and a bowl of guacamole sitting between us, she gave her unsolicited opinion. I’m not sure if I wanted to hear it at the time, but in retrospect, I needed to. It’s like you placed a tourniquet on that part of your heart, so you can stop feeling pain, she said in between sips of iced tea, but you’re not just preventing pain…you’re preventing the fullest experience of joy, too.

I felt like I got punched in the gut.

I didn’t want to admit how awful I’d been feeling lately, but she saw right through me. I admitted to being caught up in comparing myself to others, battling entrepreneurial insecurity, and feeling like I sprinting without a destination. This coupled with the barrage of social media updates from friends who make delicious dinners every night, take showers before 5pm, and book weddings more often than I blink, I felt myself closing off from friends, twisting pressure on my tourniquet to stop the pain.

It was then when I realized I was becoming so focused on my discomfort that I stopped focusing on my joy. When I shifted my perspective to finding every good thing in life, it soon began to pale everything else in comparison. Sure, I might have had to throw away dinner because I added too much salt, but walking to El Pollo Loco at sunset was equally as nice.

Last week I snapped this photo on my phone of Polo and JD as we walked along Laguna Beach…

I’m much happier focusing on just how good life is…instead of focusing on everything I don’t have or am not. With my toes buried in the sand, I soaked up inordinate amounts of joy and marked the moment as my happy place. Life is a balance between pain and joy, but I’m content focusing on the latter.

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  1. Shefali Lindsey

    October 3rd, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    Jasmine, this is EXACTLY with what I have been juggling and struggling with, and I, too, have to remind myself that I need to focus on the good of each day rather than the bad. Happiness is a choice (great reads on this are Gretchen Rubin and Alexandra Stoddard’s books), and it is what you make of it. (This is what I tell myself each morning!) Cheers to living the really good life! xoxo

  2. Kristen

    October 3rd, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    This picture is an example of pure happiness in my book. πŸ™‚

  3. Elizabeth

    October 3rd, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    Jasmine, I LOVE this post….you are my inspiration! After 22 years I have finally quit my job to pursue my dream of professional photography, and I have gone through a HUGE financial change but I am so much happier. I am attending a college class on photography and so far I have a A in the class and my instructor he LOVES looking at my pics and he is a published fine arts photographer and enjoys giving me great words to enhance my pictures in fact he requests I bring in more pics for the class to see with him. My husband says he has never seen me so happy before (I hope he knows I was this happy when we got married LOL), I am actually having a LIFE now….I LOVE getting up in the mornings and enjoy sniffing my coffee and tasting my bagel. I am still stuck on comparing myself to so many others especially since I am just starting out. But I don’t want to be like them, I want to be ME. My husband says if I never shoot another wedding, he just wants me to be happy. Yes, I know being happy means less chipotle for me but that’s alright. Enjoy the sunrises and sunsets life is to quick these days. Love the pic….beautiful.

  4. Rebecca Nash

    October 3rd, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    Hello Jasmine!
    Thank you for sharing this. I’m struggling with similar issues lately. It seems every photographer is booking more weddings, the phone isn’t ringing as much as it used to, I don’t get as much time with my daughter, I feel guilty about not having a homemade meal on the table every night for my daughter and boyfriend when he gets in the door, the house isn’t as clean as I’d like and I haven’t seen my friends or done any of my hobbies in months!

    I’ve been plagued with doubts and dwelling on these perceived shortfalls. I hope both you and I can learn to find the balance, the joy in our lives, and recognize the great things we are doing.

    If you’re ever in need of a little support, we’re all here…just reach out!

  5. sarah

    October 3rd, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    Excellent. "Comparison is the thief of joy". This saying has been rolling around in my head for weeks. You are so very right.

  6. patti

    October 3rd, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    hi Jasmine.. i can so relate to the fears.. . I still experience them, but have find that when I’m not focusing on "measuring up" that’s when I am at my best! authentically me.. Thank you internet friend, for the reminder to focus on the joys of this crazy ride.. for your honesty that makes you real and for your loyalty and determination to write no matter how scary it might be.. your super human, girl!! ~have a beautiful day, Jas!

  7. Melissa Kate

    October 3rd, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    I needed to read this today… thank you!!

  8. Mike Allebach

    October 3rd, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    I think Jaleel King has showed me that in my life. He lost everything when he was shot at age 8 and yet remains positive!

    Watch the story of Jaleel King

  9. maria

    October 3rd, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    thanks for sharing this…i thought this kind of angst only came from someone like me who just started a business. thanks for reminding me to relish in the good, which i am abundant in.

  10. Tracy

    October 3rd, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    Thank you Jasmine!

  11. Christy Tyler

    October 3rd, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    I’m trying to remember the same thing Jasmine! I’m glad to know I’m not alone in my uncomfortable place, and worries… and thank you for the reminder to look for the positive & relish in the joy!

  12. Allen

    October 3rd, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    Great post. Seeing friends booking weddings and having a great time while I struggle is depressing. I took a week-long break from facebook and never felt better.

  13. Heidi

    October 3rd, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    Dearest Jasmine, this blog post is amazing! Thank you for sharing that beautiful heart of yours with the world. You have a very special and very unique perspective on life that only you can share with the world. You share your heart so beautifully in how you write and how you capture this beautiful world we live in. Thank you for being exactly who you are – You are a masterpiece in every way. You make our world better. Thank you. Hugs, Heidi

  14. Jennifer

    October 3rd, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    it’s so hard to imagine you feeling insecure. You’re so amazing and positive it seems, and not positive in a braggy way (braggy? Webster needs to add that to the dictionary methinks). what *they* do (whoever they are) isn’t important. Their journeys are not your own. I need to find you a cross-stitched sign that says that πŸ˜‰

  15. Katie H

    October 3rd, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    So true! I have to remind myself of that alllll the time!

  16. Natalie Tuggle

    October 3rd, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    What great perspective!!!! I guess it doesn’t matter where you are in life: if you can’t focus on the good then no matter how high you are you will not be happy. I’m at the bottom of the barrel right now, trying to climb my way up. But I have to remember to enjoy the now and be thankful for how far I have come.

  17. Susanna Tanner

    October 3rd, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    Not that I wish anyone the pain of comparing yourself to others, but it’s comforting to hear I’m not the only one who battles with this as well. Thanks for the reminder to focus on the positives.

  18. Erica

    October 3rd, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    I SOOOOOOO needed to hear this today. Thanks so much for your honesty and helping me to change my perspective.

  19. brittany

    October 3rd, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    i opened this up, and it felt as if you’d been reading my mind for the past couple months and forced me to deal with this exact issue. i’m forever grateful to you, for writing this.

  20. Lauryn

    October 3rd, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    gosh, I feel you on the booking weddings thing. I feel like all my friends are booking every other day and I am patiently waiting to hit my goal number for next year. also, if youre in the market for a book rec about finding joy in every little piece of life, One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. You will love it. The writing is so unique. Its like a poem. Has a cadence, a beat. Totally changed my faith. I cant recommend it enough. Chin up. God is good πŸ™‚

  21. Angela Wilson

    October 3rd, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    I felt down on myself in the same way the last couple of days. Some weeks are rough and owning and operating a photography company isn’t easy. I need to focus on the joy and you have changed my mood today. Thank you Jasmine!

  22. Janaka Peiris

    October 3rd, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    Agree 1000% on this. From the moment a negative thought comes, we easily get carried away by imagining of the worse things that is going to follow, forgetting what we have to do now. This was most simply put by Ekhart Tolle like this: (sorry this is not SPAM or any religious ad, its just simple truth for me)

    "The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it. Be aware of the thoughts you are thinking. Separate them from the situation, which is always neutral, which always is as it is. There is the situation or the fact, and here are my thoughts about it. Instead of making up stories, stay with the facts. For example, "I am ruined" is a story. It limits you and prevents you from taking effective action. "I have 50 cents left in my bank account" is a fact. Facing facts is always empowering"

    Read more:

  23. kimberly butler

    October 3rd, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    this brought tears to my eyes, I have been doing what you did. Focusing on the bad and missing out on the joys of life. It’s so miserable! Thank you Jasmine for helping me realized something that I couldn’t see and wasn’t hearing from my husband for whatever reason. I needed this perspective change from someone else, and you were it. I hope I can change my perspective before it’s too late. Thank you!

  24. kimberly butler

    October 3rd, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    this brought tears to my eyes, I have been doing what you did. Focusing on the bad and missing out on the joys of life. It’s so miserable! Thank you Jasmine for helping me realized something that I couldn’t see and wasn’t hearing from my husband for whatever reason. I needed this perspective change from someone else, and you were it. I hope I can change my perspective before it’s too late. Thank you!

  25. Liz

    October 3rd, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    One thing I keep learning over and over is that everyone struggles. Those people who seem to have it all together- they might be struggling behind the scenes and only trying to focus on the good. Or they may really be doing fine now, but next week may be a different story. People rarely share the things that are tough on Facebook etc, even in person- we all want others to think we have it all together.
    Be kind to yourself as well as to others- you are awesome, at least as much as them, probably more so. I think you are right to find joy in the now, and I’m not saying to wish bad things on others- just remember, when it’s hard to not feel like you are missing out on something, that they might be feeling the same way and trying to find their own joy in times that are harder than they look from the outside.

  26. Arnelle Booysen

    October 3rd, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    I have been going through EXACTLY the same thing…. reading that I am not alone has made me feel slightly more normal! Thanks being honest enough to admit that even pro’s can feel down sometimes!

  27. Alison

    October 3rd, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    I am a photographer. I don’t have my business of the ground yet, but have been underway for about a year. I see other photographers booking jobs right and left and it makes me feel like I’m not good enough, but I am. I’m not giving away my work. But my husband reminds me to stay my course and build a solid cliental that will pay for my services and not expect a disk of all images for $50. I am trying. It takes daily focus. You are not alone. Many of us have these insecurities, we are human. Take joy where you can. I have a dog that is my child and he brings me much joy as well.

  28. michele

    October 3rd, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    amen sista!

  29. Frank Donnino

    October 3rd, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Amen J*

  30. James Dyas Davidson

    October 3rd, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    Blimey! If someone as successful, talented and intelligent as you can feel like this too then there’s hope for us mortals. Thank you.

  31. heather cherie

    October 3rd, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing this today! I needed to hear it. πŸ™‚

  32. Karen Shows

    October 3rd, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    I’ve always believed that comparisons are the slow poison of the soul. It will eat away at your heart slice by slice. (Not that knowing that keeps me from doing it. I’m doing it right now, with you!) But what we so often forget is that it’s always, always a false comparison. We compare our insides with others peoples’ outsides. If we could see what goes in other peoples’ heads, I think we’d be so much kinder to ourselves. So thank you for sharing your insides, Jasmine.

  33. colby evans

    October 3rd, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    you are amazing and such an inspiration to others. your vulnerability is so refreshing. focusing on what we HAVE in life is the key!

  34. Allison

    October 3rd, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Oh, Jasmine…you have NO idea how much I need to hear/read this today. I have been so down lately for many of the same reasons. It brings me comfort that a photographer as amazing as you goes through the same thoughts…and even feels down sometimes. Thank you for inspiring me to remember all that I am blessed with, for remembering that photography brings me joy & for just being fabulous you!

  35. susan blatchford

    October 3rd, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    Thanks for sharing something so personal. It helps to know this kind of thing happens to all of us, and that we are not alone.

  36. Linda

    October 3rd, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    SOOOO needed to hear/read this. How did you know I’ve been feeling the exact same way??

  37. Dianna

    October 3rd, 2012 at 5:14 pm


  38. Alexis

    October 3rd, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Someone once told me that the best person to compare yourself to is, YOURSELF. πŸ™‚ You’re doing GREAT things, Jasmine Star! God will continue to move to where He wants you to be and that’s the best place to live life (within God’s WILL). Praying for God to replace your pain with joy and help you to see you’re right where He wants you to be, for now! πŸ™‚

  39. leslie

    October 3rd, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    Thank you for this, I needed to read something positive like this at this moment.
    You are simply beyond inspiring to me and my growing business.

  40. Sarah

    October 3rd, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    I have to remind myself of this probably once a month! Social media is so amazing, but there are times where I wish I wasn’t so addicted because it can put negative thoughts in your head about all areas of your life…. if you let it.

  41. Jenna Leigh

    October 3rd, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    I LOVE this. I feel like as a photographer and business owner it is so easy to get stuck comparing yourself to other people, other businesses, other professions. You start to judge your work off of the amount of facebook likes it receives and forget about the fact that you have a vision, a drive that others could never duplicate. It is easy to forget the fact that as business owners we never post any "bloopers" or "outtakes" and that facebook is one big highlight reel… this is refreshing and a perfect reminder that we are all unique and on our own unique path. Thanks J*, you’re so fabulous.

  42. Tim Thompson

    October 3rd, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    All I can say, is well said!

  43. Jen Kinkade

    October 3rd, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    God is definitely speaking to my heart through your post. This is day 2 of Him telling me that I’ve been preventing the fullness of joy while trying to shield my pain. Thanks for sharing!! xo

  44. Jay

    October 3rd, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    This makes me =).. There is a butt load of things we all want, but have yet to accomplish. Your post reminded me that just because we’re not there now, doesn’t mean we won’t be there later. I’m starting to believe more and more that most of the joy in accomplishing a goal is figuring out how to get there. Thanks for a great post..

  45. Kimberly Stone

    October 3rd, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    Hey Jasmine, I have actually been thinking of you lately and about what you wrote about today. Isn’t this industry crazy? And social media has not made it any easier. It’s easy to feel frustrated and insignificant. I admire you for continuing to write on your blog each day with authenticity. You are amazing! Hoping to learn from what you posted today and not drown in the sea of comparison. Thanks friend! So appreciate you!

  46. Christopher

    October 3rd, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    My pastor recently said this during a study: "Focus on strengthening the spirit instead of fighting the flesh."

  47. Leslie

    October 3rd, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    Amen ! ….. good stuff, as always!!!

  48. Rici

    October 3rd, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    Dear Jasmine, thank you sooo very much for being honest and for sharing how you feel behind all the great projects you accomplish. ItΒ΄s quiet uplifting to read that you have the same low days and the same struggles with comparison. This is exactly what I often struggle with lately. I feel, like IΒ΄m doing nothing. So thank you for being real. And for changing your focus! Saluti from Germany πŸ™‚

  49. Mary

    October 3rd, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    Thanks for sharing something personal. It’s good reminder to all of us to focus on little things making us happy.

  50. Ann

    October 4th, 2012 at 12:21 am

    ….see… THIS is the reason why I look up to you… You are an inspiration that I can see myself in. You have been my push through my photography journey. F’reals!

    You are right the way social media, and the ways we compare ourselves. I have been trying to flip that and congratulating others in their endeavours, and have faith in what I am doing is unique, special and something I call my own. Note that this is a moment for self growth, to push yourself. You are amazing J*

  51. JennP

    October 4th, 2012 at 12:48 am

    I’m teaching a unit on happiness and our essential question is this: Can happiness be defined? My seniors and are reading articles from all sorts of publications and we’re currently in the midst of watching the documentary, "Happy." Your blog post’s thesis (I like to call it THI aka take-home idea!) connects so beautifully to our investigation. If possible, will it be okay if I share this post with my kids? If not, I understand. Thanks! -JP

  52. Karl Stelter

    October 4th, 2012 at 3:02 am

    Keep at it!! Your work ethic, what you’ve accomplished, and what you strive for is something myself and my wife greatly admire. How you reach out to people, both through your photographs as well as words is very very touching, and it’s something that I’m taking to heart with how I approach my own videography and photography. YOU ROCK πŸ˜‰

  53. Debbie

    October 4th, 2012 at 3:31 am

    I had a friend share this post with me today. We had a conversation early this morning after working out at our gym. I’ve been struggling with being a good enough photographer. Being good enough for my clients, not necessarily AS good as anyone else. I want my clients to love the experience and I hate the thought that they might not! That said, I continue to do it because…I know I’m supposed to. Despite the fear and worry (and everything else that happens).

    Thank you for allowing me to feel that I am not alone:)

  54. Kasey

    October 4th, 2012 at 3:42 am

    Thank you so, so much for this. Reading this came at the perfect time in my life. Now I just have to put it into practice. Thank you again. HUGS.

  55. Ashley Christine

    October 4th, 2012 at 4:35 am

    Thank you Jasmine for sharing this! Truly. Though we have never met, know that you are in my prayers. πŸ™‚ And if you’re ever in Portland, OR we have the Sandy River and some "frou-frou" coffee with your name on it. πŸ™‚

  56. Staci

    October 4th, 2012 at 4:41 am

    One thing I know for sure is that we all have stuff (I had another word in mind but didn’t think it appropriate to spout off on a comment online) flying around the room…and hitting the fan, if you get my drift. πŸ™‚ We all struggle. So, know that you’re not alone in it. AND know that while you’re sprinting without a destination, I am also gassed on the other side of the country from doing the same thing. But I have a sneaking suspicion that you DO have an idea of your destination…you just need to bring it into focus. (Shameless photography plug.) And now one of your quotes will become my facebook status…how’s that for slapping social media in the face? πŸ™‚ You’re doing just fine, Jasmine.

  57. LEOLAK

    October 4th, 2012 at 4:51 am

    POLO PIC!! This certainly hit home today….thank you for sharing.

  58. Julie

    October 4th, 2012 at 5:54 am

    Thanks for your inspirational post. I too need to focus on what I have, and what makes me happy, rather than what I don’t have.

  59. Jess

    October 4th, 2012 at 9:37 am

    frame that picture =D

  60. Monica Smith

    October 4th, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    I love this post as it is a reminder of what living is all about. God gave us the ability to feel and know joy, but we choose to keep our eyes on others so as to measure up.
    God filled each one of us with gifts specific to each individual. Someone else may be doing what I know I am called or desiring to do. How they are doing it and what they are achieving may not be what God has for me. What He has planned is specific to me. Here is where we can find joy – knowing that God took the time to focus on me and fill me with something that I could do/be in a specific way. When we live in our specific design and purpose we bring Him joy and glory.
    Know that you are living your calling and inspiring others to do the same. Enjoy this!

  61. Lindsey

    October 4th, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    Thank you for being a real person. I feel the way you do looking at your success! : )
    The ones willing to work through the hard times are the ones who will give their heart, and be ultimately happy.
    oh and p.s. Doncha know God doesn’t put you through anything you can’t handle? ; )
    You’re wonderful.
    BEyond wonderful j!

  62. rich

    October 5th, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    so hard to do at times… i have to remind myself sometimes that i’m comparing myself to someone who is not ME who will do things they do great much better than i can – it’s hard to absorb but God has made us all beautifully to do certain things really well and others not and has put us on our own individual paths and no matter what it’s a blessed path that He is guiding us through.

  63. Sara Mac

    October 5th, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    I think we all have moments, days or weeks like this. Have you been to Taco Loco in Laguna Beach? Best spicy mushroom tofu burgers. Seriously, if I lived there I would never cook dinner again!!!! πŸ™‚ Be well πŸ™‚

  64. staci

    October 6th, 2012 at 2:40 am

    first, you’re awesome and don’t ever question that. if it’s any consolation, i envy you and want to hate your guts a little bit for the fact that you get to stick your toes in the ‘warm’ sand. i’m stuck in western michigan and it’s cold.

    anyway, i’m late reading this and i’m kind of glad it happened tonight. i’m really sad today, but there’s a lot of good in my life and i appreciate your words to help re-focus. God is good all the time.

  65. Amanda Marie Photography

    October 6th, 2012 at 5:52 am

    Your wonderful Jasmine. I want to be you when I grow up πŸ˜‰

  66. moi

    October 6th, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    Thanks Jas for being so real makes me feel better to know that someone I perceive as talented, brill photographer, gorgeous, bubbly and totally together feels the same way that I do sometimes. Thanks for letting me see all the facets of your personality, makes me more comfortable with mine and less critical of others. Sending love and hugs?

  67. Bobbie Brown

    October 6th, 2012 at 1:05 pm


  68. Brianna

    October 8th, 2012 at 12:18 am

    Love the reality you share! Feeling the same way and it is always refreshing to hear that others do to!

  69. Ana

    October 8th, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    Focusing on joy falls by the sidelines sometimes, doesn’t it?

  70. Jessica Chavez

    October 8th, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    omg!!!! crying! wow! I really needed to read this at this very moment! Thank you for putting this out there for us to read. =)

  71. Belinda

    October 9th, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    What a great reminder! Thanks for sharing this experience Jasmine. Cute photo of Polo!

  72. Mayra Fiori

    October 9th, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    Here I am…Learning from you, wishing with every part of my being to be a fraction as successful as you are. I started learning photography on my own back in April 29th of this year. I blogged photos that I took with my iPhone. I purchased my camera in June and everything I’ve shot has been for free. All in hopes that someone sees my talent and somehow be on my way to be successful. You’ve got it all and some. But I much appreciate your honesty. Hope you read this. Cheers and hugs.

  73. SHENG

    October 9th, 2012 at 10:37 pm


  74. Sandra Fazzino

    October 10th, 2012 at 1:56 am

    this post was hard for me to read, because it’s a raw glimpse into your truth which from "our" point of view is a beautiful and bountiful one. it reminds me to never compare my insides to other peoples’ outsides. recently, my hubby and i have gone thru a major change. my 13 year old brother has come to live with us and i have full guardianship. for a few reasons there was a lot of pain and a lot of joy all wrapped together throughout this transition. i find that when i feel the pain and sit with it, i keep God super close to me at all times and remind myself that i’m in His hands. and i just keep doing the next right thing. things as simple as brushing my teeth or paying a bill, and sure enough, in time, the joy outweighs the pain. i don’t know… by embracing the darkness, i feel closer to the light.

  75. Alaina Bos

    October 12th, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut when comparing ourselves to others. I’m guilty as well. Especially lately. Thanks for sharing!

  76. Albert Palmer

    October 15th, 2012 at 11:02 am

    Thanks for this message. Needed it just at the right time.