“Comparison is the thief of joy.” Former United States President Theodore Roosevelt said this. I have found it to be true in so many ways, but it may be most relevant when it comes to body image and self-esteem.
Like most women, I spend an embarrassing amount of time scrolling through Instagram, Twitter, etc. where I am unavoidably overwhelmed with images of seemingly perfect-looking models, influencers and other celebrities.
Despite knowing how staged and superficial these posts can be, they still leave an impact.
Having spent the majority of my life struggling with body image, it can be hard for me to look in the mirror and feel good about myself when I’m inundated with images of so many gorgeous, thin, or exceptionally voluptuous women.
Even in high school, when I wore size 0 jeans and XS or Small t-shirts, I remember feeling like I didn’t have the “right” body. There was a prom dress swap in my hometown, and I couldn’t fit into the one I liked most.
It had belonged to another girl, a taller and thinner athletic girl. I remember my mother telling me that my rib cage was just wider than hers, so the dress wouldn’t fit me.
Being short and sort of in the “average” weight category, sometimes sliding into the overweight category, I’ve realized something that, once I was able to accept, has helped me greatly: for many of us, losing all the weight we want still won’t leave us looking like a supermodel.
Losing any amount of weight will never make me tall, with exquisitely long legs or a perfect bust. It will never make my rib cage narrower or my torso longer. It will never make me look like Blake Lively or Miranda Kerr.
Some people are just born naturally thin, tall, tan, blonde, you name it. But everyone struggles with their own insecurities and self-esteem, even those who seem to have it all.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to improve your health or get in shape – so long as it’s done responsibly and in a healthy way. But once we can accept ourselves for who we are and embrace our natural body type (pear-shape, broad shoulders, flat behind, etc.) we can make true steps towards self-love and body positivity.
For me personally, I realized while watching a rerun of one of my favorite shows, Will & Grace, that Megan Mullally (who plays the iconic Karen Walker) was about my height, with a wider rib cage and short torso, and was still a total knockout. I thought to myself, “She isn’t a Victoria’s Secret model, but she’s totally confident and looks AMAZING.”
Find your own version of Karen Walker. There are all sorts of fashion bloggers and non-traditional models now, some specializing in petite or plus-sized fashion, so there’s something out there for everyone.
Don’t waste your time stressing or comparing yourself to other women. It sounds cheesy and you’ve heard it a million times, but everyone is genuinely beautiful in their own way. All bodies are uniquely special – own what makes you different, and try to accept what’s realistic for you.
It’s fine to want to change things about yourself, so long as it’s for the right reasons and you aren’t setting impossible goals or standards for yourself. At the end of the day, it’s YOU that needs to be happy with you – nobody else’s opinion on how you look is important!
As for me, I’m now trying to be the best I can be. Not somebody else’s best, but my own. I mean that in every aspect: mind, body, and soul.
I try to practice guided meditations, eating healthy, and getting enough sleep. I try focusing on myself and not constantly comparing myself to others. It’s a journey and a challenge, but I take it day by day and embrace it.
Remember that, no, you don’t look like her. You look like you. You’re beautiful like you. Own that, and it will transform your life.