Comparison is the Thief of Joy

I really need to learn to stop comparing myself to others.

comparison2Everyone posts their happiest and most amazing photos for everyone to see. I do exactly the same thing so I don’t know why this surprises me. Every photo is edited and filtered and changed to make us look the prettiest, the funniest, like we’re living the best life imaginable, surrounded by friends and cocktails, and to give everyone the impression that we really are “living the dream.”

I know it’s silly and I know it’s skewed and I know it’s the whole “don’t compare your outtakes to someone else’s highlight reel”, which is oh so true and oh so accurate, but on the days when I’m not living my own highlight reel, I can’t help but be envious of others.

Not just in a FOMO kind of way – I do enough cool stuff that my days are full of excitement without having to drag myself to yet another sleaze bar and indulge in more expensive drinks.

But I just wonder about me. More than I should. Which is annoying, because for the first time in 21 years, I’m actually super duper happy with myself. My hair looks amazing, I’m slim enough to fit in a size 12 skinny jean, I have disposable income to treat myself to awesome days out and a killer job that will allow me to rule the world by the time I’m 30 – but compared to the rest of the world, sometimes that’s still not enough.

comparison4I go to dance class every week – and I’m actually quite good at it. My inner 12 year old ballet dancer is destined to break free. And I enjoy it.

Then last week, another girl joined, who I knew from school. She was tall and skinny and a full time dancer, so naturally she could bend her leg higher than everyone else, and piourette more than everyone else, and balance better than everyone else. And everyone said how amazing and lovely she was. And she absolutely was – of course I’m jealous I’m not that bendy.

But then there I am, thinking how crap I must be in comparison, when really, as a full time dancer, she’d better be a good at it. It makes no difference on my own skills. And I bet she can’t edit magazines or play 6 different instruments.

Then I look at my idols, and people my age who are achieving stuff I’m not. One Direction are my age and look at them touring the world. But then I evaluate if their life is really all that glamorous – note, their mental breakdowns being front page news – and wonder if a lifestyle of manufactured fame is what I’d want at all. I look at people who have shot to the top of their ladder, forgetting of course that they’re 5 years older than me and have added the hard graft that I’ve yet to come up against.

I forget all too often than I’m just 21. I can’t even buy alcohol without being ID’d.

comparison5And then I look at girls infinitely prettier than me. I look at those glamorous European women, the sexy Spanish and intelligent Italians, the epitome of sexy as broadcast on any perfume ad or styling any of the fashionable swimsuits, with dark tans, big hair, sexy accents and tiny waists, and think that I’ll never look like that. I simply won’t. The world’s definition of beauty is nothing like me. And god, that’s devastating.

Short, pale English girls with glasses and mousy hair are not beautiful. 100% English and with the skin tone to show it. The girls that guys swipe right for aren’t average nerds like me.

Which is fine – trust me, I don’t want any Tinder reject. But guys don’t set out to find average. They don’t want me.

I’ll never have a thigh gap, I’ll never be stick thin, I’ll never be tall with long skinny legs or have big blue eyes that make guys melt. The world’s definition of beauty isn’t me.

I’m not looking for affirmation or digging for a compliment. But all this crap comes from the side by side comparisons that even a confident and happy 21 year old can’t help but draw.

We just need to learn to stop fucking comparing. In my own right, I am god damn awesome and anyone will be lucky to have me. I will rule the world in my own little way and rock my non-thigh-gap ass the whole way. I know this.

The rest of the world doesn’t matter. Do your own thing at your own pace in whatever fucking style you want to. No one else matters. All that counts is what you want to do and how you’re going to do it.

And those that want to come along for the ride will, regardless of if you can put your leg behind your head or not.

Just keep being you.


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