Sometimes, on the tube or at work or at Church, basically everywhere, I look at other girls and I think “Why can’t I look like her?’
“Why can’t I have hair like that?”
“How come her stomach is so flat and mine isn’t?”
“I wish I had legs like hers.”
And don’t get me started on Instagram. I’ll be scrolling through my timeline thinking,
“Oh wow her abs are so defined, how come mine aren’t? I’m so fat.”
“Look at her spicy tomato quinoa, her meals are so much better than mine, she’s going to lose more weight than me.”
“She goes so hard in the gym! And I gave up after 3 sets, I’m so weak.”
It sounds so silly but I know for a fact that other girls do it too. It’s so easy to look at other beautiful ladies and compare yourself but it is so dangerous. Comparison is my biggest weakness but I’m slowly beginning to see how unhealthy it is and I am teaching myself to love myself for who I am. Here’s why:
So you might be at home getting ready to go out, shaking what your mama gave you in the mirror in your new Asos dress, snapping a few selfies, feeling beautiful and on top of the world and then as soon as you get to the party/dinner/church day of fellowship you instantly feel ugly. Why? Because you see a girl who looks pretty. Not just pretty, prettier than you.
Her twist-out is perfectly bouncy and soft, her belly isn’t poking through her dress and her shoes are the ones you couldn’t afford. Somehow, your fabulous new hairstyle that you finally perfected after fifteen Youtube videos, your dress that finally fits after months in the gym and your bargain shoes that you snapped up in the sale do not feel so great anymore. Simply because of another pretty girl in the room.
Yes, she may be beautiful and yes she may have things that you do not but does that make you any less beautiful? Why does her beauty lessen yours? It is perfectly possible for there to be two beautiful ladies in the same room, or 4 or 10 or 100. Just because she looks amazing, it does not mean you do not too. As women we are often too focused on competing with one another and less focused on uplifting and encouraging each other. We ladies like to show off our designer labels and latest clothes to each other and it’s just silly really. Men don’t know the difference between your £1 MUA and her £15 MAC lipstick; it’s just a red lip to them, so why do we care so much? It sounds extremely cliche, but we are all beautiful and we can all be beautiful together. There is no prettiest face or best edges or most amazing figure because everyone is beautiful but in their own way.
If you allow someone else’s shine to dull yours then it means you were not truly shining in the first place. Your beauty and confidence has to come from your own belief and your own true love for yourself because if it does not then you will easily allow others to snatch it away from you. You need to be able to feel beautiful 24/7; when you wake up in the morning with crust in your eyes and a headscarf on, when you’re sweating like a pig on the treadmill and when you’re bopping down the street next to other pretty girls. Your beauty is yours; do not let anyone take it from you.
Comparing myself within someone’s filtered image or six second Vine is not wise because it is only part of their story. Beneath some of the valencia filters and the hilarious tweets are broken girls. We do not know what is really going on in anyone’s life (despite them posting their every meal, outfit, family member and more) because when it comes to social media, we choose what we want people to see. My cupboards may be empty and my phone line may be cut off but if I upload an image of my
big sister’s new Jordans, I’ll get hundreds of likes and feel better about myself. But then someone else who cannot afford Jordans will have a bad day and feel down because they are comparing themselves to me. Little do they know, I’m struggling too. You might be jealous of that girl’s amazingly healthy dinner but how do you know she didn’t stuff herself with Oreos afterwards? How do you know what is really going on?
We only upload our best moments and so they are not reflective of our entire lives. Comparing your dry, boring Sunday with someone’s 55 snapchats of their exciting day out with their amazing friends means nothing; we all have good days and we all have bad days but some just choose to shout about them more often. The other day I was looking at a girl’s Instagram page and thinking, “Wow she trains so hard, I need to get myself in the gym!” But guess what? I had already been to the gym that day! I had trained hard that day and left the gym proud and buzzing with endorphins but I let those feelings get taken away in a flash from just one glance at another girl’s feed.
And as for comparing your body with someone else’s; just don’t. We are all built differently due to our genes, environment and other factors and so to put it bluntly, you will never have Beyonce’s or Followthelita’s or JustGeen’s body. Those thighs are hers, not yours and so the best thing you can do is to focus on becoming the best version of you. It’s fine to use these beautiful ladies as inspiration but to desire to look exactly like them is hopeless because it will not happen. You might have wide hips like your mother and may desperately want stick thin legs but unless you have surgery (please don’t) your hips are here to stay so work on making them the healthiest hips around. Healthy looks different on everyone and so whilst my waist might not be as small as the girl sitting next to me in class, my waist is still healthy and I have worked hard to fight my love handles. My legs are not as defined as the girl on my athletic’s team but they are strong and can squat double what they could squat last year. My abs are not as visible as that girl on Instagram but they are on their way. My body is mine and I work hard to keep it healthy and looking the way I want it and it will never look like her’s but it is still beautiful and I must learn to accept that.
I may not be able to do a muscle-up (yet) but I am still as great as the girl that can. I cannot do the splits but I am still healthy. As much as I wish I could, I do not do yoga or kick-boxing or pole or play football but I am still great because I am still active. I am not able to spend all day in the gym and attend every bootcamp and visit every vegetarian restaurant but I am focused on doing what works for me and that is good enough. Looking at what everyone else is doing and feeling bad about myself voids every drop of sweat I lost all on my runs, every time I said no to cake when I really wanted it and every time I dragged myself to the gym after working twelve hour shifts.
I am beautiful, jiggly belly and all, and it is only when I accept that I am me and not her that I will begin to truly shine. I can only be myself because that is who God created me to be. I am beautiful and I am ME. Not her.