We need to stop using the qualities of others as a benchmark to compare ourselves and our lives to. It's ridiculous to make yourself feel ugly and unworthy based on what someone else looks like or
how their life plays out on Facebook.
She stood there, nonchalantly leaning against the wall, coffee in one hand and cell phone in the other, making the simple act of leaning look like a dramatic model pose in some magazine. An absolutely beautiful woman just going about her day, taking a moment to have some coffee and talk on her phone. She wasn’t talking loudly or doing anything to draw attention to herself, yet everyone in that coffee shop noticed her. Including my equally beautiful friend, who all of a sudden started fussing about herself; fixing nonexistent wrinkles on her shirt, smoothing her already perfectly straight hair and putting on some lipstick because, all of a sudden, she was feeling drab.
I sat there watching as my friend screwed around with her imagined flaws for a good five minutes. When she finally caught me staring at her over my steaming mug of coffee she kind of tilted her head to the side in the most adorable way and raised her eyebrows. Her face clearly saying, “What the hell are you staring at?” When I didn’t respond her first words told me everything I had been thinking about her actions was right on target, she put the lipstick back in her bag angrily and shrugged her shoulders saying to me in a voice slightly above a whisper; “I give up. No amount of lipstick is going to make me as beautiful as her.”
“You’re right,” I said, “It won’t.” She nodded in agreement feeling as if I were validating what she knew all along. That she was a horribly ugly woman and never good enough. Only, I wasn’t. Not even close. She is beautiful. She is stunning. She has a heart of gold and is hands down one of the smartest women I know. But she forgets all of that the second she is in the presence of someone she deems better than her. Which sadly, happens all the time.
As the ridiculously beautiful woman ended her call and started to walk away, I peered at my friend, knowing she was mentally beating herself up as her eyes followed the woman as she left. When I had her attention back I asked her a very pointed question – “Why do you use other people as measuring sticks to your worth and why, WHY, do you always feel like you come up short?”
She couldn’t answer me. Frankly, I don’t think she even realizes she is doing it most of the time. It’s so ingrained in her and many others I know. At least with her, she doesn’t get all vindictive and angry when she feels jealous or envious of someone else. There are many, when feeling not as good, pretty, successful or whatever, as someone else, who will resort to cruel comments, bad behaviors or incredible fits of neurotic jealousy to make the other person look bad.
All which is the norm these days apparently. Women bash other women because their existence on this planet makes them feel bad about themselves. Women tear each other down, over and over again, for no other reason than pure jealousy. There is absolutely no reason for it. Just because someone else is beautiful does not mean you are any less so in. It just means they are beautiful. Just because someone you know is incredibly successful, doesn’t mean you aren’t successful, too. It just means they’ve worked hard and it’s paying off.
We need to stop using the qualities of others as a benchmark to compare ourselves and our lives to. It's ridiculous to make yourself feel ugly and unworthy based on what someone else looks like or how their life plays out on Facebook.
We religiously read through our newsfeeds every day comparing our lives to what others are posting about theirs. Never realizing what you are seeing is only the golden moments as no one has the perfect life we all seem to imagine existing for everyone else but us. You don’t see the 750 selfies someone took to get the perfect one or the zit someone has on their nose that is the size of a Buick because no one is going to post those. You don’t see posts about falling apart marriages, the mounting credit card debt from the amazing vacation that you trolled through the photos of or how it took bribes and threats to get the kids to dress up and pretend to be happy for the “perfect” family photo that made you question your parenting abilities. No one posts about their kids failing classes, coming home late or being incredibly ungrateful, unmotivated messy forms of human life.
We aren’t comparing apples to apples. We are comparing our reality to their highlight reel. And doing a number on ourselves mentally in the process.
When I see a beautiful person, I admire their beauty. When someone I know has something amazing happen to them, I get happy for them. When a friend, who I know has been working their butt off, finally attains success, I celebrate them. I don’t see their beauty as a reason to feel bad about myself or get jealous when something amazing happens to anyone. Just like I don’t feel better myself when I see someone fail or feel like I am better than anyone else when I achieve a goal I’ve been working towards.
I placed my cup of coffee on the table and put a serious face on. My friend, who has known me for years, knew something was coming but apparently wasn’t prepared for what came out of my mouth because when I told her that I could no longer be her friend she immediately became defensive and angry. I ignored her and said:
I can no longer be your friend because you are far more beautiful than I, and I hate you just a little bit because of it. I can no longer be your friend because your husband makes more money than mine and you have children, where I do not. Your life is much happier than mine, and I find that I loathe the mere thought of going home after spending time with you because home always feels shabbier and less opulent than yours. I find I must end our friendship because frankly, you have more style and dress better than I and are so much thinner that after I see you, I don’t eat for a week and cannot look into a mirror without seeing how badly I compare to you. Your hair is perfect, your teeth are perfect, and I look ogreish standing within your presence. You’re a much better writer, a better person, and all around better woman than I could ever hope to be. I just am not enough to be your friend any longer.
She looked at me in a stunned silence. Apparently, I was far more convincing than I thought because she thought I was serious. As she started to tell me how awesome I was and how none of what I said was true, I silenced her with my hand and continued:
I wasn’t looking for validation or compliments. I was using your logic to quantify my worth, don’t you see? I was using you as a measuring stick, as you used that beautiful woman who just left. I was using you to benchmark my life. Do you see what an incredible injustice we do to ourselves when we do this?
She is a smart woman; she saw where I was going with it.
I hope you do, too.
Stop using others as benchmarks to your beauty, your success or your worth. Your beauty is not defined by a stranger's appearance, nor is your success measured by the success of a Facebook friend. Your worth is not determined by how you compare to others and your value as a human being is not based on the lives of others.
Stop selling yourself out. Seriously, stop. Know your worth.
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