Comparing ourselves to others is a normal habit we pretty much all participate in. We look to others around us to tell us what we should be doing, what our lives should look like, and even what our bodies should look like. This habit can be good for some reasons and to a certain extent, but comparing your body to others and feeling ashamed of your body isn’t a great way to be spending your energy and time.
Social media is a highlight reel, as we know. People only post posed photos where their skin looks the most clear, the lighting is pristine, they’re sucking in their stomach and flexing their muscles. People only post the best photos of themselves online. That isn’t how they look in every day life walking down the street though. It’s difficult to remind yourself of this or even imagine it since we don’t see their behind the scenes life. We don’t see the hundreds of photos they put in their trash folder because the angle wasn’t flattering, or their acne was showing. We don’t see the reality of their stomach rolls while they sit down to edit the photo. None of those qualities are bad or ugly, but it’s important to realize that others have them too.
Another fact is that you don’t know that persons lifestyle. For all you know, they could be extremely restricting their diet. They could be over-exercising everyday. They could be slim due to genetics that you don’t have control over. They could be only taking photos in the morning before they eat any food for the day. Whenever I find myself starting to compare my body to someone else’s, I try to remind myself that we are two completely different people with two completely different bodies. They look the way they do because of their bone structure, genetics, and personal habits. I look the way I do for those same reasons. I want you all to be kinder to yourselves and your bodies.
Tips to Help Stop Comparison
1. Get Real with Yourself
You keep going back to this one person’s Instagram account and looking at all of their photos. Why? You don’t even follow them but yet you’re here on their account, spending time staring at how flat their stomach looks in their high waisted leggings.
Social media is one of the number one places we go to compare our bodies to others, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The power is in your hands. I have personally made a second account where I exclusively follow content that I enjoy like Disney, Youtubers, etc. where there is no body comparison. I rarely ever go on my main account anymore. This can be a drastic shift if you’re addicted to Instagram or any other social media platform, though. In this case, I encourage you to unfollow, block, or mute people who you tend to compare your body to. It could be that classmate you met last quarter in English, or an influencer who has the nicest house. You can be comparing yourself to anyone who pops up onto your feed and it’s up to you to really dig and figure out what accounts make you feel shitty about your body. You shouldn’t be feeling shitty when you put your phone down.
2. Think Positively
Another proactive tip you can use is to list out qualities you love about yourself and think about all of the amazing things your body does for you. I mention this tip a lot for various things but that’s because I find this tip to be so useful and powerful. Focusing on the positives of your body will slowly but surely make you become more confident in yourself. Writing them down on paper is even more effective when you get a visual of all of the qualities listed. Focusing on what your body does for you takes you out of the mindset of the beauty ideal. This makes you focus on how you are a human being navigating this life in a body that you only get one of. Why would you want to spend your days worrying about how that crop top looks on you or how you refuse to wear a bikini in public? Those things are only going to add more stress and negativity into your life. Focus on the moment. Be present. Your body is so much more than a picture.
3. Re-establishing your own mindset
Why do you believe that this person online has the most ideal body? All bodies are beautiful and valid, including your own. Don’t be sucked into the beauty ideal trap. Society’s ideal body isn’t even realistic or attainable for most people. The ideal is constantly changing, too. You can’t keep up with it no matter how hard you try. Why even try? What’s the point? You are unique and the only one of you- that is special and something no one can take away from you. The beauty ideal tends to be ingrained in all of us since we were kids and it’s a journey to try and let that go. It’s important to let it go though, so you can live your life without the pressures to look a certain way.