I tell myself that this is the last time. The absolute last time. Fervidly, I close the app on my phone. The last thing I see before the screen goes dark, is her pretty little face smiling up at me. The girl that I’m not.
How many times do we find ourselves comparing who we are with who we aren’t? Old friends. Exes. People we’ve never met. Slender, sultry women stare vacantly at me from magazine covers as I wait in line at the grocery store; their figures causing a twinge of regret in my soul. Most times, we don’t even mean to compare. Our brains are just wired that way. Whether it’s melons or men, there’s always good, better and best. “She’s thinner, but I’m prettier.” “She’s taller, but I’m curvier.” “She’s perfect, and I’m ugly.”“If only I were more…” The list is extensive.
Thoughts like these can consume you, defeat you, or even bolster your pride when you come out “on top.” Even when we “win,” we lose. The comparison game goes on and on, until we’re no longer satisfied with what’s in the mirror. Just stand a little taller, tuck your gut in, tilt your hip and hide one massive leg behind the other. Create this illusion of unaffected perfection, when inside, you’re shriveling up beneath the glaring deficits you’re certain the whole world sees. And thanks to the internet, the whole world can see!
Technology and social applications continue to be a blessed, double-edged sword. What was created to connect has developed the power to divide. Angles, filters, and photo editors shift, skew and sometimes distort reality. We click and compare. With a few taps of my finger, I am 5 pounds lighter, 3 shades darker, perfectly made up and all over your newsfeed. It becomes a competition. There is this incessant gnawing to keep up with or surpass every girl that I know; potentially, every girl on this planet. It’s no wonder we’re over caffeinated and still mentally exhausted.
The biggest social media lie is that we are as perfect as our feed says we are.
This is not a direct attack on social media (which I love), nor a jab at filters or photoshop (which I use). This is not another, “You are unique like a snowflake, so love yourself” article (even if that’s true). This is an admission to a dirty little secret that I’m pretty sure, is pretty common. Why do we inflict such unnecessary, un-benefical, illogical emotional harm upon ourselves? More importantly, what can we do to stop the habit?
Know who you are. They say charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but that doesn’t keep me from wanting to be beautifully charming. Those who are assured that they are loved as they are, feel safer to actually be who they are. Well friend, you were designed with purpose. Every freckle, every hair, every dimple… even if that dimple is on your thigh and not your cheek.
Appreciate beauty of every sort, even if it’s not your own. Recently, I find myself praying for the girls I’m jealous of. Even if you don’t believe in prayer, retraining your thoughts from poor to profitable is bound to profit positive results. Get outside of your own head. Become thankful for a world full of beauty amongst the bleak. It’s hard to be jealous of something you’re genuinely grateful for.
Just don’t go there. When you’re tempted to click and compare… don’t. Get ahold of yourself, girlfriend. Develop some self-control. Imagine your self-esteem as a magnificent brick house. Would you allow someone to tear your home down brick by brick? That is what you’re doing to yourself, click by click.
Nothing good, pure, true or lovely comes from comparison. The comparison habit may be hard to break, but in the long run, it is unbearable to live with. There’s enough beauty and grace to go around for everyone. So, take a deep breath, sweet girl. Stop your scrolling, and let the “last time,” be the last time.