I have read so many articles about the ‘Do no compare yourself to others’ subject that I have lost count. If you, like me, have been or are on the journey to self-transformation be it within your body or mind or soul (or all three) you too have probably come across numerous blogs, social media posts, videos etc! In fact, it’s almost impossible to avoid them! ‘Do not compare yourself to others’, ‘you are good enough’, ‘everyone has inner beauty’, blah, blah, blah if you ask me. Before I tell you why it is so difficult to believe these articles, I have to admit whilst reading them, I do feel empowered, I do feel good about myself and I kind of buy into the ‘everyone has something to contribute to the world’ belief. The BIG problem is, as soon as I’ve been bombarded with images of perfect women, living perfect lives, my self-esteem hits rock bottom again. If you are reading this and think that this is just another woman moaning about how unfair life is, then you probably don’t have this issue and this article is not for you.
On the other hand, if you ever feel bad about yourself based solely on outer influences such as the media (TV, films, billboard advertising etc) then I hope that you will find this article useful. This is a frank disclosure of my personal experience and I have written it in the hope of reaching out to anyone who has ever been in or is currently in this position. Ever since I can remember, I have been exposed to images on the media that dictate how you should look in order to be deemed attractive. Needless to say, the attributes required are not being overweight, or having a crooked nose, or flawed skin etc. or anything imperfect actually! I mean, occasionally you may have a celebrity declare they have cellulite, or they too suffered in some way but the story generally involves having overcome that obstacle and having them return to their original beautiful self. Don’t get me wrong, my problem has nothing to do with these ‘perfect’ people but everything to do with the fact that these images are so powerful, they have led the world to believe that they are the only mould we have to fit in to be accepted as attractive or beautiful.
Even though I think I am an intelligent person, fully aware the images in the media are massively photoshopped, the impact of them is still a powerfully negative one for me. In an instant, my previously positive mood can turn bleak when I am subjected to an image I cannot possibly aspire to.
The beauty industry, literally feeds on the insecurity these people create and it, together with the dieting industry have built an empire using us mere mortals as the foundations and bricks and mortar.
How then are we supposed to not compare ourselves to others? How are we supposed to believe that even if we do not fit into the media’s opinion of beauty that we too are ‘perfect’? My answer is not a quick fix solution because I’ve come to realise that there just isn’t one that can instantly restore order. No, I feel that change can only come in small steps (this applies to all change). The advice I would give you is:
- Refuse to buy that product – actively and consciously gravitate towards products that promote diversity not only in race and gender but also in our physical differences
- Refuse to buy that service – seek out companies that promote not only their service but those that are transparent about their motives (choose companies with motives that align with or are in harmony with diversity
- Reject plastic surgery for enhancing ‘beauty’
- Raise our children to know that beauty comes in many forms. Encourage them to see it in everyone and lead them by your own example
However, the most powerful thing that I believe that you can do to begin change is this –
STOP CRITISCISING PEOPLE ABOUT THEIR LOOKS
I admit it, I have been guilty of this crime to humanity. Here are a few examples taken from my life:
- You’re walking down the street and you notice a person that is overweight. Immediately, you stare, you judge them, you find them ‘ugly’ or ‘fat’.
- You meet someone you haven’t seen for a long time and notice that they have put on weight.
- You pass a woman on the street and notice she’s wearing a cheap dress that you saw in the discount store last week
- A friend of yours shows you the lipstick she’s bought and you feel the colour doesn’t suit them
- A person you know is wearing a skirt that is unflattering and you can see ‘rolls’ of fat on her stomach
- The man at the till has warts on his neck
- The guy at the bank is bald and overweight
Whenever you catch yourself doing this, STOP!!!! Look at the person again and find something nice about them instead. Make it your mission to do this from now on and whenever you find you have slipped up, resolve to change. You will find that slowly but surely your mind will become less critical and more complimentary. In time, you will start to judge people by their actions and not their outward appearance.
Written by Sherry Taylor
Author of The Anti-Diet Lifestyle