Who are You Comparing Yourself To?
When you stop and think about it, we spend an awful lot of time judging ourselves. We compare ourselves to our friends, family members, classmates, or acquaintances. We look around and wish that we had better hair, a thinner waist, bigger breasts, or a prettier smile. Where does this get us? What have we accomplished at the end of the day when we look in the mirror? Have we managed to successfully change the texture of our hair, lose 40 pounds around the middle, enhance the size of our chest, or alter our most beautiful attribute, our smile? Unless we happened to be doing all of this judging on a day when we had some big procedure scheduled, the short answer here is no. It is a complete and utter waste of time and brain power. In fact, all we are really doing when we judge ourselves is feeding into the false belief that we are not enough. The most ironic part about it is that the people we are comparing ourselves to are likely doing the same thing to themselves. It’s a ruthless and neverending cycle that gets us nowhere. So, who are you comparing yourself to?
Why Does it Matter?
Get up right now and go look in the mirror. No really, go…like NOW! Investigate the face, the body and the personality staring back at you and notice what comes up. Where do your thoughts go? Do you hone in on the pimple that decided to grace you with its presence this morning, the three gray hairs that miraculously appeared out of nowhere, or the bags under your eyes? Maybe your mental chatter starts to tell you that you look okay and then that distinct voice of your inner critic comes in to remind you that you snort when you laugh or you talk too loudly. Listen very closely to the internal dialogue that’s taking place. What are you telling yourself about yourself? If you find yourself singing your praises, I congratulate you! Well done. If, on the other hand, you find yourself spiraling into a vortex of slinging insults at your poor, unsuspecting mirror-image, take a deep breath and think about something. Imagine for a moment that it’s your mother, or your sister, or your very best friend standing in front of you. Would you say those things to her? Would you call her out on her blemish or remind her that she is a beautiful person? Would you whip out a box of hair dye or not even notice? Would you ask her to laugh so you could make fun of her snort or go on snorting right alongside her? Chances are good that you would probably just love her, support her, and completely overlook those things that she might fault herself for. Why can we do it for others, but not for ourselves? We need to be championing ourselves as much as we do for others and when we can’t do that we are hurting the very fabric of our being. The fact is that we are all uniquely beautiful and special and talented and fierce in the perfect combination. When we can’t learn to see that, we are perpetuating the idea that nobody is ever good enough, so we aren’t even just hurting ourselves anymore, but all that we interact with. When we can embrace ourselves, good, bad, and ugly, however, we create space to allow others to do the same!
What Happens When You Learn to Accept?
If you know me today, you probably don’t think of me as a person who is shy or holds back much. The truth, however, is that I went through a very long time where I couldn’t stand myself. I was constantly scrutinizing, comparing, and wishing that things were different. After I had my children and my body changed, I got even worse! What had they done to me???? Why was there no warning??? Where had my body disappeared to? Slowly and gradually I learned to shift my perspective. Instead of seeing my lack of a six-pack, I looked to my children and found gratitude that I had been lucky enough to carry them. Instead of seeing my gray hair as an impending sign of doom, I chose to focus on the joy of the moment and use them as a reminder that each second counts. Where I once saw lines around my eyes, I began to see a lifetime full of laughter. The creases around my mouth became a memory of so many smiles and frowns…a remembrance of the full breadth of my ability to feel. The worry lines at my brow have now become a reminder of my strength and resilience as I’ve learned to navigate situations that I didn’t know if I would ever get through. The freckles and uneven skin tone, a beautiful expression of all of the days I have been lucky enough to dance under the sun. In short, I have learned to love myself, and the freedom that has come with it is the biggest gift! You can do it for yourself as well!
It Starts Small…
As with anything in life, start small! Starting today, focus on one thing that you really, really, really like about yourself. It might be your crooked smile, the color of your eyes, your flawless complexion, or even your contagious laughter! If you have no idea where to start, ask a friend what your best attribute is. Start with that and love it so fiercely that nothing could stop you. Everytime you pass by a mirror stop and adoringly describe to your reflection how much you love that one thing about it or pause after every giggle and thank yourself for the beautiful sound of it. Do this for a week and notice what happens. You’ll likely find that during this process other parts of you begin to look a bit more appealing as well. Start to give those a shout-out too! Keep this process going, adding on one new physical attribute or personality trait each week and before you know it, you’ll be staring back at a much more confident, whole, happy individual. You are different, and that’s the best thing about you. Embrace those things that set you apart instead of wishing they were something else and you are FREE from the judgment of the world around you. Sounds pretty good, right? Awesome, so stop reading this, get off your bum and go find a mirror! Your newfound confidence awaits! Once you’ve got it fully intact, CLICK HERE to use it to build the life of your dreams!
Jillian Arena is a Certified Transitional Life Coach, RYT-200, and Reiki Practitioner. She uses her training in each to help her clients around the globe achieve maximum clarity, happiness, and possibility out of life! For more on working with Jillian, visit her website HERE.