I cannot recall the exact moment I started looking at other women and feeling less-than, of feeling like ‘if only I had her… then I’d be happy”. Like most young women, I assume it started to occur around my younger teenage years when beauty magazines and the attention of boys started plaguing our every waking (and sometimes sleeping) moment. It took me years to even begin to unlearn the self-hatred and anger I felt towards myself because I wasn’t like another woman, but just as soon as I started to unlearn this anger new forms of comparison sparked up- I’m not as successful as her, my Instagram isn’t as pretty as hers, Why is everyone liking her photos and not mine?, her marriage seems so perfect, I wish I could command a room like she does, and so much more. I seemed to turn back to my old high school days of making comparisons instead of friends with other women. My value once again shifting from how I feel about myself internally and my talents to how I compare to other women in the room.
I’m still not perfect at this, I still catch myself being hurt and depressed at times because I drank the comparison poison once again, but slowly and surely I find myself digging my mind out of that trap with one key phrase:
YOU ARE INIMITABLE.
This doubt we all live with, this self-hatred and mutilation because we aren’t HER in some way must end now. Comparison is a poison that leads you to not even trying and to giving up. Talking like “But she has it all, I’ll never be like her” is simply bull-fucking-shit. Her is a secret- she doesn’t have it all; that shiny Instagram feed with thousands of followers? That is her highlight reel. Behind the scenes she is probably doing the same thing as you- scrolling and comparing herself to strangers.
You’ll never be like her, because she isn’t you and you are your own person. This comparison trap we let ourselves fall in leads to building walls around ourselves and keeping our strong sisters-in-arms out instead of being alongside us in our day-to-day fights, failures, and triumphs. We need more sisterhood, we need more collaboration, more friendships, more solidarity. And that can only happen if we take the first step of stopping the comparison and feeling less-than and start remembering who we are and our own unique powers.
YOU ARE INIMITABLE.
Stop trying to be the next Oprah, Michelle Obama, Reese Witherspoon, Ashley Graham, or whoever, and start being you and accept that that ‘just you’ is all you will ever be, and it is beautiful and perfect and amazing to be ‘just’ you. What starts now is you pushing that self hatred somewhere else and dealing with it head on- take up boxing lessons, go to the top of the mountain and screaming out the anger, throw a heavy book at a wall a dozen times, use your anger to fight the damn patriarchy that has made so many of us hate ourselves to begin with, talk and cry it out with a therapist, find your sisterhood and work together to overcome it all.
There is only one comparison you can give yourself permission to do, and that comparison is just with yourself. Compare where you are now to where you want to be later, compare who you are now to who you want to be, compare your current life to the life you dream of. Then get up, wipe the tears away after you’ve cried them, and go become who you were always meant to be. You can never be HER, you can never compare yourself to another because there is no way to compare two separate being with their own unique souls, experiences, backgrounds, and paths to one another. You tear yourself apart and build up feelings of covetousness when you try to become someone else. You break down the fragile sisterhood all of us women must be a part of to make change when you compare yourself to others. You make internal enemies out of your allies.
That woman you’re so envious of that you keep tearing yourself apart for not being like? She could very well be an amazing friend sitting there waiting for you to come to her and become an ally, a friend, a colleague, a light for.
Turn off your Instagram notifications and start searching for the “like button” for yourself and from yourself, not others. It is hard, it is so so hard. I know this because I fail at this constantly. I’ve spent days and weeks copying others every move, changing my house to look like Joanna Gaines lived there (because I wanted to be her so bad because she seems to have everything I wanted), changing my clothing and the way I speak to make me more like others who folks liked so much, tried to mold myself into being someone more successful because I craved others success and love so much.
I threw myself into so many depression and anxiety spirals that I contemplated picking up a razor blade again to try to find my worthiness underneath the skin on my wrists. My saving grace was the fact that I surrounded, and continue to surround, myself with people who look me in the eyes and ask me why I’m hurting, to check on me, to verbally slap me in the face with the knowledge that I can’t act this way anymore if I want to be who I am meant to be.
I also saved myself, while being a damsel that others found and helped get back up, I became my own knight by working so hard to remind myself of what I always tell friends and strangers when they need to hear it:
You are worthy of whatever you deem yourself to be worthy of. You don’t need to go seek that inside of any bottle, any person, or any pain you want to inflict upon yourself.