Every Monday features a tip, exercise, inspiring quote or other tidbit to help boost your body image. For many of us, Mondays are tough. We may feel anxious and stressed out, anticipating an arduous week, especially if we didn’t get much rest and relaxation during the weekend.
These kinds of feelings don’t create the best environment for improving one’s body image. In fact, you might be harder on yourself and easily frustrated. You might even feel like you’re walking on egg shells – with yourself! With these posts, I hope you’ll have a healthier and happier body image day, that’ll last throughout the week.
When I moved to Florida with my parents when I was 13, I noticed that most people didn’t really look like me.
Instead, many of the girls were slim, small, blond and tan.
I am curvy, pale and have dark brown hair. I’d compare myself to these girls a lot, wishing that I just looked like a normal “American.”
For as long as I can remember I have compared myself to others. When I lived in NYC, it was simply someone else, someone I thought was prettier, thinner or more popular.
The comparison-making followed me into high school, college and even grad school.
Today, my body and self image are at a much different and much more positive place. But I still fall into the comparison trap at times – and I fall hard, down what can feel like a long, dark, blistering hole.
How often do you feel on top of the world – or pretty darn good – only to have a woman walk in the room and self-doubt suddenly surround you? How often do you think that if you just looked like her, your life would be better or you’d feel better about yourself?
How often have you wished for someone else’s body?
There are times when I still feel the hint of “I’m not as pretty as her” wash over me when a confident, beautiful woman walks in the room. I start to create her entire life in my mind: her perfect job, perfect household, perfect marriage and perfect family. And get upset that I don’t have all of that.
Not surprisingly, the comparison trap usually leaves us cranky, miserable, disappointed and green with envy.
It’s unhealthy. And it’s unnecessary.
I just started reading Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance.* In it, author Rosie Molinary includes some words of wisdom on comparing:
Let’s be honest. What purpose do the comparisons serve? If your barometer for greatness is based on comparing yourself to other women, you are setting yourself up to be unhappy. Why? Because none of those women are you. None of them have your genetics. None of them have your life experiences. None of them face life in the same exact way that you do. And let’s face it, the picture-perfect life you see on the outside is not reality anyway.
She also encourages readers to think through their comparisons in a personal journal. She writes:
Who are you comparing yourself to and in what way? What effect is that comparison having on you? What purpose does the comparison serve? Give yourself honest feedback about why you are doing it and then move on. Each time you find yourself in the comparison game, stop and walk yourself through these steps. By gaining an understanding of when and why you make these comparisons, you can begin to gain the upper hand and stop the habit.
I couldn’t agree more. Because when you peel back the layers of comparison, you realize that this doesn’t have anything to do with the other person, but with our own insecurities and what-ifs.
It’s the rumble of not being good enough. The ache of “I feel fat today.” The twinge of “I’ll never be beautiful,” “I’ll never have what I want,” I’ll never be what I want to be.”
The next time you feel this way, try out Rosie’s advice, dig deeper into your comparison-making and realize that all of us struggle, and all of us are pretty amazing in our own ways.
(It’s OK if you have to tape it to your head once in a while like I do. Better yet, tape it to your inspiration board.)
Do you compare yourself to others? What do you think is the reason? How do you stop yourself from comparing?
* I received a free copy.