Research suggests that young women in our generation spend a majority of their time comparing themselves to other women, with the access to democratic and new media platforms. Just take a look at your Facebook timeline, Instagram feed or Snapchat, you get what I mean.
Young women tend to diminish their worth by constantly comparing themselves to women seen online or in magazines, which often is a far cry from what is seen in reality. Self-comparison soon becomes self-objectification which in the long run, becomes an exhausting mental habit (and is a major waste of time!). However, this vicious 'compare and contrast' trap can be defeated in the following ways.
1. Find Out The Root Cause Of Comparison
For example, you may feel guilt, regret and frustration when you compare yourself to your slim friend who exercises regularly and eats healthy while you binged on pizza at midnight while watching Netflix. When we find ourselves comparing to another, let’s use this as an opportunity to identify the underlying reasons of why we’re making that comparison and get in touch with how we feel. Is it born out of guilt, shame or a sense of worthlessness? Is it worth your time and energy comparing? Will either of you benefit from comparing? If the answers are not positive, then maybe it’s time you considered addressing those issues and patiently deal with them.
2. Eliminate Limiting Mindsets
The reason why women compare themselves to others is because they hold onto a mindset of 'she-wins-I-lose'. This mindset convinces us to believe that wealth, beauty, accomplishments are everything and if we don’t have all those, we’re less significant. I’m here to tell you that this isn’t true. Another person's success does not equal to your failure. While these are desirable, life is so much bigger than these and who you are as a person is not determined by what you have or what you’ve achieved. Sure, society tends to laud those who have reached pinnacles of these domains but let’s start see and value people for who they are as a person and see the good in them. This way, we quit the perpetuating cycle of undermining ourselves which paralyses us from moving forward and improving ourselves. If your friend is successful in her job, you can be too! Take baby steps to improve yourself daily.
3. Follow Inspirational Role Models
As someone with a passion for media, I’m often aware of pop culture and trending topics. Pop culture exposes gossips about the most talked-about couple Kim Kardashian and Kanye West (or 'Kimye'), or how Kylie Jenner's lip kits are sold out and the list goes on. Although it's hard not to wonder how the Kardashians achieve their 'bootylicious' figures, it is important to balance out who you follow on social media platforms. The question here is, “Who or which crowd are you following? Are they leading you in the right direction?”. Follow women who inspire and motivate you to improve yourself as a person; whether they are fitness trainers, nutritionists, authors, motivators, musicians and more. A few examples of inspirational women to follow include Malala, Emma Watson, Oprah Winfrey, Kayla Itsines, Lilly Singh. With this in mind, I’d just like to add that there is more to see on your Instagram feed than pop culture!
4. Spread Positive Energy
Let’s face it, we all gossip. Each time our group of friends start to gossip, we get stuck in the 'compare and contrast' trap again. Instead, we should infuse positive elements in our conversations, be genuinely happy for that person and celebrate with him or her. Envy or bitterness ain’t gonna get you anywhere, woman! Let the kindness in you shine! This cycle of spreading positivity will overcome the 'compare and contrast' trap - improve your well-being, confidence and compassion.!
5. Be Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable
Embrace your body. Embrace your cellulite, stretch marks, 'thunder thighs', thigh gaps, stomach flab, short legs, long legs, thin lips, thick lips, broad shoulders, thick calves, or any other ‘flaw’ that you may be uncomfortable with. Banish those insecurities, ignore the menacing voices of body shaming and own those imperfections like Beyoncè walks out of the door without a care in the world! Eventually, you will realise there are more important things to channel your time and energy towards than your imperfections. And hey, they are what make you you! The time spent on worrying about those insecurities can be replaced with much more meaningful and valuable activities; whether on yourself or with your family, loved ones or friends. That said, there’s nothing stopping you from eating healthy, sweating out and keeping fit!
So the next time you face the 'compare and contrast' trap, just look at yourself in the mirror. Repeat these words out loud: “I am beautiful”. “I am blessed”. “I am loved.” “I am amazing just the way I am.” Believe in what you are saying, and soon these life-giving words will become a therapeutic source of boosting confidence!
As Justin Bieber would say #LoveYourself!