The Dark Side Of Complimenting Other Women
I came across this on Instgram yesterday, and I couldn’t help but feeling a little disheartened by it and the 6,000+ self-deprecating comments from women:
“So sad she’s thinner than me”
“Sometimes I wish I was pregnant as an excuse to be fat”
“Even her tiny cellulite bumps are cute”
“This isn’t fair”
“She totally has a better beach body than me”
“She’s still so hot” (As if women who are growing babies are supposed to be unattractive?)
“This is depressing”
“I hate myself”
“It makes me want to crawl into a ditch and hide”
Lady-babes. No. No. No. No.
These comments are well-intentioned compliments towards Blake Lively’s appearance, but when they are rooted in envy, jealousy and self-loathing, what good are they truly doing? These ladies are using their compliments to actually tear THEMSELVES down. How self-destructive is this? And how many of us have done this ALL of our lives?
When our compliments are coming from this place of self-judgment, we lose focus of everything that is unique and awesome about ourselves and suddenly become “not good enough”. We degrade ourselves and we become LESS, in our own minds – and then we open the flood gates for shame (and if you’re familiar with Brene Brown’s work you know that shame is some rough shit). We start wishing for things that someone else has, instead of appreciating what WE have and are. Then our compliments kind of lose their authenticity.
Comparing yourself to others is a losing battle, there’s never a win and someone always falls short. It’s pretty unfair too, since we usually compare the worst we know of ourselves, to the best we perceive of others.
Comparing steals from us, distracts us and takes us away from ourselves, and often ends in resentment of either ourselves or others. Worst of all, comparison deprives us of joy and adds zero value or enrichment to our lives. We can’t make big moves, get stronger, nurture ourselves or truly grow if we’re operating from a place of shame, loathing judgement and comparison.
Plus, we as women have SO much better things to worry about than who has “cuter” cellulite and who looks better in a bikini (spoiler alert: we all do). This mindset holds us back and keeps us powerless.
We can however, embrace our bodies inside and out, acknowledge our worth and celebrate our individuality, our badassery, our gifts, talents, strengths, successes, contributions and purposes in the world.
We can truly appreciate and compliment another woman’s beauty WITHOUT denying our own, and without putting ourselves down in the process. It is not a selfish action, it is a confident, strong, empowering action, and the most sincere way to deliver a compliment.
However, it’s not as simple as quitting this stuff cold turkey.
It’s no wonder that our default way of thinking is to constantly judge ourselves next to other women. Everywhere we go we’re told either through advertisements, media, or unrealistic beauty standards, that we should be something we’re not and that we have is not enough: we should have smaller hips, less wrinkles, more money, better hair, more degrees, a shinier car, a cleaner house, etc. etc.
Our brains also really like to quantify though. They want to rank and track and organize information. They want to know where we fit into the grand scheme of things. We need to give them something to do instead of simply going cold turkey on our comparison habit.
So, instead of telling you to stop comparing altogether, why not simply redirect the comparison to a past and a present version of yourself and keep the comparison within?
When you catch yourself comparing yourself to another, pause and re-direct the thought. Instead of submitting to the temptation to compare yourself to someone else, ask yourself a few questions instead:
- What am I doing today that I couldn’t have done 1, 3 or 5 months/years ago?
- What new decisions have I made or what new actions have I taken that have resulted in moving in a new direction in my life?
- What are my wins this year, compared to last year at this time? How has my life improved? How have I improved? What have I done recently that I never thought I could do?
- What negative behavior have I stopped engaging in, that I never thought I could quit? What positive behavior have I been engaging in that up until now, I have resisted?
- How am I doing more of what I said I was going to do and shown up more consistently for my own success?
In other words, how have you continued to become a new and improved, better version of yourself?
Then give yourself a fist bump. And whenever you begin to feel that pang of envy, just come back to the above questions, and focus on the posi, and don’t let yourself become preoccupied with the negative.
Compares less, be more.