Do you compare yourself to other women?
For many years, I would compare myself to other women’s bodies. I was super self-conscious at the beach when I was around my skinnier friends, and would refuse to take off my shorts. How dare I reveal my “fat thighs?”
Being around my slim, beautiful friends made me feel fatter, uglier and less than, ultimately stemming from that internal feeling of not being “enough.” I remember the anxieties I’d have around getting ready to go out in college. While sometimes I’d feel “OK,” the second I walked out and saw how I sized up against my roommates, I’d feel really blah.
Spring break of senior year in Cancun was probably the lowest I’ve ever felt about myself. After a week-long Lemonade Detox stint and endless efforts to lose weight with dieting, I had reached my all-time heaviest. I hated the way I looked in a bikini, and was really embarrassed to be “seen” in front of the frat boys and sorority girls. I still vividly remember taking a picture on the beach with all my girls, as I hid behind one of my friends so my thighs wouldn’t be seen.
Why couldn’t I have her legs?
If only I could lose weight and look like her, I’d be happy!
Man, it must be nice to look like that.
This was the type of negative self-talk I’d beat into my head.
As I transitioned away from dieting and began to live more, I naturally started to focus more on myself. I felt so good about the fact that I was taking care of myself and doing me that it didn’t matter what other women’s bodies looked like. I remember the first time I freely took my shorts off at the beach — and nothing happened! That’s when I realized that no one really gives a sh*t what you look like, or that your thighs are exposed. It’s just whatever.
While my years of body comparison are far in the past, old habits of comparing myself to other women have been popping back up for me lately — this time with career and success. I guess old habits die hard, right? It makes perfect sense that my old ways of comparison are coming up, this time in an area that’s relevant in my life now.
The other week, I was flipping through instagram, stalking Facebook and clicking on the websites of those I admire, slowly but surely feeling worst and worst about myself.
I am so far behind.
My website isn’t pretty enough.
So many other people are doing what I’m doing, how will I shine?
It got brutal. Then I realized, why should I let the success of these other beautiful women make me feel any worst about myself? Right then and there, I knew I had to take the advice of my 21-year-old self and once again look within. After all, when jealousy and comparison sets in, it’s a signal that something is a little off in your own life, and you’ve got some work to do.
And so I went on a bit of a social media detox, and spent lots of time alone with myself meditating, reading, journaling and listening to inspirational podcasts. I got real with my feelings. I let myself feel (without judgment).
Suddenly I remembered how darn amazing I really am — as are you, and her and them.
Ravishly recently published an article, “6 Ways to Stop Hating Other Women” and I particularly resonated with #4: Don’t compare your insides to other people’s outsides. That is, don’t let what looks to be like success and perfection and living the dream make you feel like a total failure. Often times, we’re all fighting some sort of battle even if it doesn’t look that way on paper.
In the end, it’s OK to feel jealous or to compare yourself, as long as you recognize where those feelings are coming from and make a solid effort to work on that for yourself. In the meantime, I think we could all use a little more lifting up, celebrating and connecting with other women. Just imagine the magic of positive vibes that would come from that!
Do you compare yourself to other women – be it their job, relationship or body? What have you done to work through those feelings?