Ask Bodyposipanda: How Do You Deal With Comparing Yourself To Others?

Ask Bodyposipanda: How Do You Deal With Comparing Yourself To Others?

Dear Bodyposipanda,

How do you deal with comparing yourself? Every time I see another girl anywhere, I always compare myself to her and she always wins. I always think about how much better looking she is and how I’m worse compared to her. I always feel inferior. Any tips?

- H

Hey H!

You're not alone is this, comparison is something that we've all been conditioned into doing. Especially women and girls, because we're taught from such a young age that our worth lies in the way we look. And since the definition of beauty that we're told to aspire to is so narrow, we're all competing for one, very exclusive, prize. The prize of beauty.

But that competition only makes sense if there is only one kind of beauty. The truth is that there are millions of different kinds of beautiful, and the idea that there's only one is a lie that's been created by industries to sell us products and keep us in a constant state of comparison.

So the first thing we need to do to break out of that mindset, is learn to truly see how many different kinds of beautiful there are. That means exposing ourselves to as many different body types as possible, and breaking away from the things that tell us there's only one way to be beautiful. The more different bodies you recognise as beautiful, worthy, and valuable, the easier it is to recognise that your body is those things, too.

The second thing about competition, is that it only makes sense if another person winning takes something away from you. But someone else being beautiful doesn't make you less beautiful. It just means that both of your different kinds of beauty are co-existing in the same space. In the same way, someone else succeeding doesn't make you less successful. Someone else's happiness doesn't take away from yours. You're not fighting for a limited resource, there's room for us all to succeed, to find our happiness, to be beautiful. So there's really no need to compare.

Something that helps me when the instinct to compare my body to someone else's kicks in, is shifting my perspective of that person from competition to ally.

You might come across someone who you think has the perfect body, and immediately your brain tells you that it must be more perfect than yours. You start wishing you had their legs, their hair, their eyes. But despite how perfect you think their body is, there's a 97% chance that they don't feel the same way. The features of theirs you wish you had might be parts that they wish away every day. You don't know anything about that person's body image, whether they're struggling with eating disorders, body dysmorphia, diet obsession or self hatred.

So before you start pitting yourself against them, remind yourself that you're both facing the same unrealistic beauty standards, the same fucked up diet culture conditioning, the same idea that you have to be in competition with each other. And you're both just trying your best to survive against that shit. It isn't her that you're up against, or her, or her, you're all up against something much bigger, something outside of you, and something that's it's going to take all of us coming together against to defeat.

Other women are not your competition or your enemies in the fight to feel good about your body, they are your allies against the real culprit: the forces that taught you that you weren't good enough in the first place. Diet culture. Sexist beauty standards. Narrow body ideals. And the only way that we all win, is taking the time and energy we spend competing with each other, and using it to destroy those forces instead.

Love & bopo,