We live in a world where we are in constant comparison to one another. “She has nicer clothes than I do.” “She’s smarter than I am, prettier than I am, and more fit than I am…” OR do we even dare admit that we can sometimes catch ourselves on the other end of the stick?
Either way, both situations are detrimental to not only others, but also to your own mental health and well-being.
A friend once said:
These are words necessary (but difficult to live by) if we are ever going to be content with ourselves and our physical appearance. So what happens when you can’t help becoming envious of someone else’s characteristics?
I am sure that many of us can attest to the downward spiral of personal self-esteem, confidence, and negative body image. Soon we find ourselves in a place where it’s hard to see our own strengths and beautiful qualities. We can only wish we were like the other girl who seems to have it so much better. Self shame and self-deprecation becomes inevitable.How do we prevent this treacherous path of comparison and damaged self-esteem?
The first step is to acknowledge that the girl you’re comparing yourself to probably has felt the same way about herself. The more open I’ve become about my own challenges with self-esteem and body image issues, the more I’ve discovered that most girls have struggled with something very similar in one form or another. You are not alone.
The second step is to identify what your “trigger” is. In what situations are you most susceptible to comparison?
Let’s talk about Instagram. I love Instagram, but some days I find myself fixating on other women’s accomplishments from working out to leading a healthy lifestyle.
Thoughts begin to creep in my mind, comparing my body to theirs and questioning my own appearance. Why don’t I have abs like that? Am I not working out enough? Do I eat too much? I begin to feel guilty about that chocolate that I ate after lunch, or the second serving of roasted sweet potatoes I had at dinner last night, or not going to the gym that morning and doing yoga instead. All because of a picture I happened to see on Instagram that day. You can’t compare apples to oranges. We are all beautifully and uniquely made, so why should I expect that my body looks like another’s? When these thoughts and feelings begin to pop up in my mind, I try to actively recognize that not only are these thoughts negative, but they’re simply not true.
The third step is to eliminate these triggers that will lead you down this road of unhealthy comparison. I’ve gotten to a point where I will proceed to unfollow someone if I find that their posts cause me to doubt my own accomplishments and my body image in comparison to theirs not because I dislike them or what they are posting but for the sake of my own mental health and well being. It’s okay to unfollow. You have control over your environment. If you find that there is something toxic, you should remove it ASAP.
Comparison is a slippery slope that leads to dissatisfaction and discontentment, but it is not impossible to avoid. Valentine’s Day is often deemed as a holiday that is only for couples,but I think it should be less about romance per say and more about about showing love and compassion to everyone, including yourself. So I challenge you this Valentine’s Day to chose compassion and not comparison, and love the person that is so wonderfully and beautifully YOU.
Author of Wholly Nourished
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