How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
Be the author of your own beauty story.
Every woman is a goddess. Not only should we learn to own that, but also strive to share our love, beauty, power and knowledge whenever we can – and with whomever we can.
That includes other women. It includes on the Internet. It also includes in real life, and even when we don’t feel like it, and even when we’re feeling badly about ourselves.
The best and most powerful way we can go about doing this is to change the way we talk about ourselves. When we start to think about ourselves differently, we start to view other women differently – and we make them realize that not only is it possible to change the conversation, it’s necessary.
And I’d be lying if I said it didn’t feel damn good to take the power back.
Last week I spoke to Dove self-esteem expert and bestselling author Karen Walrond about the importance of changing the way we view ourselves and our “flaws,” and to teach ourselves and others to perceive them instead as our own beautiful differences.
What our conversation made me recognize is just how much power we truly have in our grasp – and why it’s important that, rather than comparing ourselves to other women and their lives, their bodies and their stories, to instead use our own power to channel, harness and change the beauty game itself.
We need to get away from the idea that “perfect” is needed in order to be happy.
For our society to start to get away from the idea that being perfect is what will make us great, or beautiful, or even just acceptable – first we need to accept different definitions of perfection. Because I’m not going to spout off about how nobody’s perfect here; in a world of Photoshop, Instagram filters, and overtly edited photos, images in the reflection are most certainly not always what they appear to be.
“It’s not even just that there’s no such thing as perfect – there’s also the flip side of that, where it’s… Everything is perfect,” Karen shares candidly. “You are perfect at being you, you are perfect at yourself. There is nobody that is more perfectly Kimia than you. Right? And [you should] own that!
That’s one thing – the idea that everything has to be perfect, whatever perfect is this week or month or whatever, the way that I think is really powerful for us right now in this society, in 2016, is unlike when, for example I was a child or even you were a child, where the media was only owned by incredible large corporations and they controlled everything in the messaging…
Now, we live in a time where we are all the media.
We all can have an Instagram feed, or a Facebook feed, and I think that we all with that mindful and intentional thing, is we have the power to celebrate and broadcast, “Different is beautiful.” We can show and share videos and articles and images and selfies of things that are beautiful – and share that, and spin it that way, and as Dove would say, Speak Beautiful. We can do that because we are the CEOs of our own media companies! We all are, and I think that’s a really powerful thing that sometimes we don’t pay attention to.
We have a ton of power nowadays, and we don’t even know it! Particularly women. Women are the ones that are sharing selfies, and women are the ones that are using social media in a social way to connect. Not that men don’t, but we women are kind of wired to do that, and that is a whole lotta power, so we really need to grab that power and harness that power and use that power to change the conversation.
That’s one of the reasons that I love working so closely with Dove, is because Dove has given women the tools to do just do that. To say no, we’re gonna Speak Beautiful, we’re gonna talk about what real beauty really is, and here are the tools that you’ve got to do it, so go forth, man, go change the world!”
We need to unfollow and unsubscribe from anything that doesn’t make us feel good about ourselves.
There are so many body-conscious Instagram and Twitter accounts floating around. When it comes to comparing ourselves to others and feeling down on ourselves when we don’t “measure up” to the many filtered, Photoshopped images we see daily, the first and foremost thing we need to do is – stop looking. Tune out. Don’t feed into content that creates negative energy, or continues the cycle of self-hate or negativity.
“The first thing I think is, if you’re looking at Instagram images that are making you feel bad about yourself, stop it!” Karen tells me. “Put it away, quit looking at it; don’t do that, don’t look at the stuff that makes you feel bad about yourself, because it’s all… not a lie, but it’s apples and oranges. You can’t compare yourself with another person – they’re another person! They are never gonna look like you and you are never gonna look like them, no matter what. To compare yourself, it’s just a waste of time.”
Create the content you want to consume.
“I am way more about creating than consuming,” Karen explains. “I would much rather see people use that energy to create their own media that celebrates who they are and celebrates what they see is beautiful around them, then consuming what other people say and feeling bad about yourself. I’m not just talking about selfies, I’m talking about your beautiful life!
You create. Look around, there’s beauty around you constantly, and it’s real beauty because it’s you defining the beauty, it’s not something else, some corporation or some media. It’s you doing it. So you create that content. And if you see content online that’s bugging you, then stop it! Don’t look at it! Unfollow.”
Remember to look for the light.
Appreciate the beauty in any and every situation.
“I have a theory that if you can get to an internet connection, your life in general is not that bad,” Karen says honestly. “You may have challenges, I’m not saying that it’s all perfect; but you probably have clean running water, you probably have a roof over your head, so just look around. There is beauty there somewhere.
And even in the worst situations, when you’re dealing with loss or pain, there’s always somebody who comes to your aid. There’s always somebody who does some selfless act to help you get through it, and that in itself is beautiful. So if we focus more on the beauty in our lives, and the beauty [around] us, life gets better. That just naturally happens – life gets more joyful, and we need to do that more. Just in general we need to do that more.”
Promote what you love, instead of bashing what you hate.
“The first time that I started working with the #SpeakBeautiful campaign, the first time that it kinda came across my own radar, I believe it was launched around the Oscars last year, and I loved it!” Karen explains. “What I loved about it was that it’s such a common pastime for the red carpet, for everybody to see the people coming on the red carpet, these women and men, but mostly women, let’s face it; and to tear apart what they’re wearing. Or talk about how they’ve aged, or talk about how they’ve gained weight, or lost too much weight, or whatever else… And I love, and I actually was doing this even before Speak Beautiful, to get on Twitter during those things and just talk amazing about the people I think are just stunning. [laughing] It’s unhealthy how much I love it!
And what’s amazing is that it’s contagious. You say, Wow this person looks amazing, generally people wanna go God you’re right, that color is her color or Wow, I hope I age like that woman, she looks great, or I haven’t seen her look this alive. He came with his daughter, that’s so cool, their relationship. To celebrate that, it’s contagious, and people get into it, and you feel better about yourself when you Speak Beautiful… there’s [even] selfish reasons to do it. It’s such a great campaign. It’s been so much fun.”
Want more inspiring words from Karen? Check out her blog here.