The thief of joy

My best friend has the most beautiful hair, is so well-respected, looks beautiful with minimal make up and always sounds so well-spoken and informed when she opens her mouth.

I spoke to one of my close friends today, who had her baby in November and her body looks better than mine – I want her body and her tan, and while we’re at it her outgoing personality and closet.

The Doctor I saw today has absolutely stunning lips, fillers of course, but I wish I could afford to have mine done.

This morning on Instagram I saw a girl post a #transformationtuesday post and I wished my body could look like hers. Oh, and so by the way, she has like 4 000 followers, and I’m not even on 500 yet? And she has sponsorships for her hair (extensions) and nails – like???

This is what I have been exposed to between the hours of 07h00 and 13h00. In just six hours I have compared myself to (at least) four different people and have completely disregarded my own strengths, ignored what makes me beautiful and special and display absolute ingratitude for everything I do have. It’s like being given a gift and complaining about the fact that you would have rather wanted something else or something more.

Uuuuh…I’m glad I’m not God, because I would take that gift back at the drop of the first complaint or comparison.

I’m not beautiful like you, I’m beautiful like me

In today’s society we are surrounded by everyone posting highlight reels on their social media.

I for one am not going to post an unedited, unfiltered, make-up free photo of myself on my Facebook or Instagram, and I can promise you 99% of people won’t either (and the people who do are rich celebrities and they couldn’t care less – they have money).

People tend to not describe their fears, latest disappointments or failures on Instagram and neither will they be disclosing their hopes or dreams for fear of judgment. Instagram (or Facebook) isn’t a goal list (and no, sipping cocktails on a beach is not the #goals I’m referring to); it’s a mood board, a “best version of my life that has been edited and tweaked to perfection” – not a behind-the-scenes, let’s get real about what I actually look like, or have, or don’t have.

Yet, on a daily basis I compare my barefaced, need to go to the hairdresser, bloated self with the pretty version of that one girl who is constantly wearing Forever New dresses and who has her hair picture perfect the whole freaking time. (Who even takes her photos? Or does she have a photo shoot day once a month with ten different outfits and randomly post them to seem like she looks that way everyday? No one looks that good all the time, do they?) I went completely off topic there, apologies; but we have grown so accustomed to seeing the best versions of other people and their lives posted all over social media, and then comparing that picture with the us we know we are on our average or bad days.

 

“Humans are thought to possess a fundamental drive to compare themselves with others, which serves a variety of functions such as self-evaluation, inspiration and regulating your emotions and well-being. Upward social comparison happens when we compare ourselves to someone thought to be superior to us, whereas, downward comparison occurs when we compare ourselves to someone who may be inferior or have negative characteristics. Upward social comparison is healthy when it inspires us, but can, more often than not, lead to feelings of inadequacy. Comparison is the thief of joy.”

Learn to admire someone else’s beauty without questioning your own

Most of us need to walk the path of appreciating what other people have, or have to offer, without it being a reflection on what we lack or where we differ. When you get to a stage where you feel overwhelmed, I urge you to put down your phone or the magazine and possibly take a (social) media fast for a day or two, a week, a month, or even 40 days? Spend that time identifying what makes you you, what makes you beautiful, what attracts people to you. Make a list of things to be grateful for and focus on that.

It’s necessary to look for the beauty in others, but I urge you to look for the beauty in yourself. The unfiltered, unedited, unhashtagged you.

Find beauty in the ordinary…

 

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