We are not a zero-sum game. We are not perfect substitutes. If you have ever been compared disfavorably to someone else, you probably have felt this: a tinge of discomfort and embarrassment akin to when you see children getting scolded publicly. You convince yourself that you have grown enough, that your self-love journey has made you immune to it, that you can just let those comments slide off like butter, but you are wrong.
While boys get compared with how “tough” they are, girls and women alike, because the comparisons don’t stop in the sandbox, will get compared by how they stack up to other women by their looks. Being compared by our physical appearance, I have come to realize is what hurts the most. And I can understand why. Not only is it incredibly subjective, women get told, directly or indirectly, that our worth is strictly dependent on our beauty. It is our currency. And whether you are beautiful is highly correlated with being white, tall and slim (beauty standards remain quite similar regardless of where you live #globalization). So it is to be expected that the majority of women, 91% of us to be exact, are unhappy with our bodies.
It doesn’t matter how mature you are, all it takes is for someone to say you look older, when in fact you are younger, or that your friend is prettier than you are, and just like that the comment gets under your skin.
You can fight the thought or you can entertain it. Am I really that foul looking? Why does not being pretty bother me so much? Would I feel the same if someone called me dumb? I guess it all depends on what is part of your insecurities cocktail, but I can't help but think that having disfigurement plays a part in how much I value being called “beautiful.” When I was recently compared disfavorably to someone, all I could think was “is it because of my toes?” It has to be... right?
When you are told you are not beautiful it refers to the whole package, so then why am I blaming it on my short fourth toes? I guess because that is the part that I have been taught to conceal and to be ashamed about. The part I believed was the ugliest of me. For this new year, I hope that we are kinder to ourselves in hopes that we can stop comparing each other.