We all do it. It's almost impossible not to. It might be human nature, or it might be cultural. It's probably a mix of both.
I'm talking about our need to compare ourselves to others.
We do it all the time, sometimes without even noticing. We compare our bodies, we compare our salaries, we compare our houses and our cars. We compare our children, our athletic ability, and our intelligence.
And the worst part isn't just that we compare ourselves like this, it's that we tend to compare ourselves to someone that we think has more than us, is better than us, or has something that we don't have.
We compare ourselves to people who are further along than we are, so it makes us feel so small, so insignificant, so far behind.
And that's where the judgment begins. And as we know all too well by now, there is no harsher judge, no one that's harder on us than ourselves.
But amongst all of this comparison, there's something that is so demeaning, so self-esteem shattering, so wrong, that it's something you should absolutely never compare yourself to:
Women that don't really exist.
I know you might think that's strange, but we're actually doing it all the time. We're surrounded by images of people that don't really exist, but we're made to believe that they do.
We flip open the cover of almost any magazine – it doesn't matter if it's geared towards men or women - and all we see are photos of gorgeous, perfect women in nearly every ad.
The same thing goes for television, movies, even the internet.
What we are told by all of these images floating around, even if it's indirectly, is the message, loud and clear, that we aren't beautiful enough.
And if our self-esteem is already in tatters, then what we hear is even worse – that we aren't beautiful at all.
The reality is that there is absolutely no good reason to compare yourself to anyone, since, like we talked about in the last post, you are unique and you have so many things that you bring to the table. It's a waste of time to compare when the reality is that these comparisons are like comparing apples to oranges.
Is intelligence better or worse than compassion? Is artistic ability better or worse than athletic ability?
You just can't compare these things because they're all so very different.
There's some good news – you can change this habit of comparing. Because that's all it is, a habit, and habits can always be changed. It's simply a matter of training your brain to put the focus back on you. This isn't about what anyone else has or doesn't have - or seems to have that you don't. You are perfect just as you are.
Look back to the list you made from Monday and remind yourself of everything about you that's so special, that's so great, that makes you the unique woman you are with so much going for you and so much to offer someone who is truly worthy of you.
The only comparison you might want to make is with your own beautiful self; where you are at right now compared to where you once were, and recognize just how far you've come. Look at where you were on your journey just a short time ago, and note everything that you've learned. Look at all of the ways that you've improved, and made changes for the better.
Then allow yourself to feel grateful for everything that have, everything that you are and everything that you have accomplished. You can show that gratitude by helping others that aren't there yet to get where you are now. That's the truest expression of gratitude.
And to help you to break the habit of comparing yourself to others, I want you to watch this video, and check out the other links below. These will help you realize without any doubt that the women in those magazine ads don't really exist.
And you would never compare yourself to something that doesn't exist.
Check out this article from US magazine showing how celebrities look in real life vs. how they are portrayed in the media.
Here's a great talk given by model Cameron Russell about how these false images of women are created, and about how models are actually insecure about themselves.
And here's another great video showing the transformation of perfectly normal, beautiful women into something that's just not real.
Are you seeing this all more clearly? How do these videos make you feel? Tell us about it in the comments!