We’ve all heard people say not to compare yourself to someone else.
For me, it’s become one of the most annoyingly stereotypical comments, especially having recovered from an eating disorder and also now being in ballet.
I’ve heard it over and over and over and over again. It’s successfully been drilled into my head.
So why do I still do it?
Sure, not in the same way I used to. I successfully don’t degrade myself over the fact that someone else is the size I wish I could be. I also don’t beat myself up when people are better than or more of a natural at something I’m passionate about. But that doesn’t mean I don’t still size up my small friends and wish I could look like them, trying to figure out what I could do to logically get to my version of that. Or that I don’t subconsciously count it as a mark against me when someone else is succeeding and my life is seemingly relatively stagnant.
If this is something I know so well, why do I still do it?
I guess part of it is human nature. We judge people because we are human, but there is a difference between taking in your surroundings to make judgements of how you need to act, etc, and being a judge mental jerk. (For lack of saying words I may not want children to read.) in the same sense, we compare. Personally, judging and comparing are two traits that help me in my day-to-day tasks. It’s largely how I know how to act and react and what’s appropriate. Sure, sometimes I miss the mark, but “reading the room” of sorts is a key part to me functioning in society.
Knowing such, I know I’m also prone to be way too hard on myself. To over thinking and telling myself that I don’t have what it takes or I’m not enough. None of that is healthy, so when I notice myself going down that path, I try to stop myself and remind myself who I am and what I have to offer.
(Sometimes this is way harder than it seems or should be.)
- It’s not a competition on if I’m “sick enough.” I don’t have to prove it to anyone, and frankly, getting a diagnosis isn’t something I can talk my way into. It’s something proven by tests and blood work. I can’t control it more than the medical advice I’m given, realistically. I am me, this is my body and reality, this is my lot. Im not anyone else. I can only do what I can do about it.
- Not having a significant other does not make me less of a person. Honestly, I think this one bothers other people more than me, and the fact that they’re bothered bothers me. (Though it’d be nice to be on someone’s insurance and have a second income. Yes, I realize how shallow I sound.)
- Amount of readers or followers or likes or anything else social media brings does not dictate my worth. I shouldn’t feel like I have to say or do certain things to reach out to people who don’t really care about me. The ones who care will be there. The new people I meet will come anyway. I can only do what I can and no more than that. Being fake to try and feel more successful isn’t worth it.
- My friends love me for who I am. I don’t have to prove anything to them. I shouldn’t be afraid that they may not like me if they get to know me better. Should that happen, it’s not worth the stress of trying to keep up anyway. You’ll surprise yourself by how many people actually do accept you just the way you are when you’re true to yourself.
- Doing what I need to take care of myself is a good thing. I shouldn’t be afraid of or feel guilty about doing that.
- Giving myself the time and space to figure out new complications is healthy. I shouldn’t feel bad about it or beat myself up for the need of it.
I could go on and on, and honestly I don’t know if anyone really cares about this post. I don’t even know if you’ve read it this far, but that’s okay. This post is more for me than it is for anyone else, and if someone else gets something out of it, then that’s a plus.
So often in life, definitely in ballet, we find ourselves comparing our lives and stories and paths to other people’s. And what’s the point? You’re the only person in the entire world to have the exact experiences you do. Other people may be able to relate to some of them, but they’ll never be exact. Therefore, comparing is stupid. It’s illogical. It’s part of human nature, but allowing ourselves to be overcome by it more than is natural isn’t wise. We have to figure out ways to fight it. We have to look at ourselves in the mirror and know that we are worth it, just as we are. We have to fight to better ourselves for no one else but ourselves. We have to fight to keep living, even on the days we don’t want to the most.
It’s not fair to let darkness steal any more of the light than it takes before we notice it’s there. Darkness happens, but we deserve light. Let yourself feel it on your face and embrace its potential.
“Comparison is the theif of all joy.”
Fight for what brings you joy, for you.