Plus-size, sculpted, curvy, petite, tall—these are just a few terms used to fit individuals into a socially constructed box based on appearance. Our society is consumed by a need to fulfil an unattainable level of good enough. Unattainable how? Because no matter what we do or don’t do, it will simply never be enough. And comparing ourselves to others has never been more prevalent with the aid of social media.
Since hitting my teens (and progressing through my twenties), scrutinizing my body became second nature to me. Whether it was the cover of my teen mag or a beautiful figure circling my Twitter quote tweeted “I’d kill for a figure like this”, the need to compare was and still is everywhere.
We are living in the dangerous age of comparison. We’ve all become accustomed to the mental chatter that says, “Why don’t I look like that?” Body shapes and sizes have become a fashion trend, almost an obsession to achieve.
We don’t see our bodies as temples that keep us alive and functioning. We view them as nothing more than a social status waiting to be attained, something that can either make us or break us, depending on whether it’s celebrated across the realms of social media.
And when they aren’t celebrated by external sources, we naturally seep into our self-destruct mode. We struggle to see that self-acceptance is what comes first and foremost. Without it, we’ll never attain a sense of good enough.
Feeling good about your body matters. Not because the media tells you that you should, and not because your clothes size meets a certain criteria or mould you’ve been brainwashed into fitting. It matters for the sake of mental wellbeing.
Naturally, this filters into other elements of life. Somebody else’s successes compared to yours. What someone else has compared to what you want and so on. Rather than celebrating every bit of work we put into reaching an aspiration, we focus on scrutinizing all the things that haven’t gone right. A small window into the house of another calls for treating our successes as if they are irrelevant. Why? Because this age of comparison encourages the need to feel as though, no matter what we do, it just isn’t good enough.
What would life look like if, instead or beating ourselves up for every wrongdoing, we celebrated each and every success AND attempt? How would life improve if, instead of comparing each and every inch of ourselves to another, we embraced every minuscule detail that makes us unique?
Giving ourselves permission to just be without judgement, scrutiny, or analogy is fundamental. By making the decision to let whatever we do or don’t do ALWAYS be enough, we let go of the urge to compare our paths to the paths of those around us. The only time for comparison is when it serves to push us forward rather than stunt our growth. But the truth remains: This is your path and that is theirs. Neither is wrong, but both are different, so the use of comparison is irrelevant.