“Hi…My name is Leigh, and I’m sixteen days sober of comparisons. Oh, cute top….I want one. She is so much prettier than me. I’d never look good in that….Oops. Hi, my name is Leigh, and I am five seconds sober of comparisons.”
Let’s talk about comparisons. We all do it, whether we’d like to admit it or not. You do it, I do it (namely that of comparing myself to strangers on the internet…). It happens to the best of us. Ever notice that comparisons tend to sneak in and take up space in your head when you’ve reached a low point? In a moment of weakness, your insecurities will swoop in, and before you know it, you’ll be scrolling through your newsfeed, looking at all of the cool things that other people are doing. You buy into the game…I buy into the game too. The effort to stay afloat seems futile at times. And in the lowest moments, there doesn’t seem to be a cure either.
I’ve come to understand that comparisons have little to do with other people, and everything to do with my self perception. I’ve looked at the lives of others, and viewed their success as a marker for where I should be. If everyone else is doing that, then I should be doing that too, right?
We live in a pressure cooker society. The tension is always up, and it’s difficult to stay focused on a direction with all of the steam everywhere. If the temperature rises ever so slightly, we’ll all explode. And, in a sense, isn’t that what we’re doing? Exploding under the pressure to be good enough? But…good enough for who? Good enough for the people who we pass in the street? Good enough for the people that are, unbeknownst to you, going through just as much as you are?
In the middle of a heated society lies our ‘need’ to compare ourselves to others. But, what about just being yourself? What’s wrong with that?
It takes courage to be yourself in a world full of people trying to mimic others. I know…I do it all the time. I have a difficult time being myself, or, at least, the best version of myself. Being yourself is scary; it’s so much easier to dress up and play pretend with someone else’s life, even if it’s all in your head. Being yourself is terrifying. Being yourself takes work, effort, and struggle.
A few years ago, I attended a talk given by Markus Zusak, author of The Book Thief. When asked what his greatest struggle was, he replied: “To be the best version of myself. I tried so hard to be like other writers, when really, my energy should be spent in trying to become the best person I can be.” We all do it; try and fail to be other people, when really, the energy would be better spent trying to be ourselves.
You’re not always going to like yourself. You’re not always going to enjoy where you are, who you’re with, or where life is taking you….Have the courage to be you anyway. Can you imagine looking back in a few years and realizing that you spent all of your time trying to live someone else’s life? Yikes.
I am not always my biggest fan. But today, maybe for the first time ever, I’ll put on my brave face, and have the courage to be myself, listen to my own voice, and be open to growth, no matter how painful it is.