Getting an A on a test
Passing the highest dance exam
A new boyfriend or girlfriend
Winning a prize for their artwork
Recording a demo song/album
An amazing photograph
Moving up a set in class
Accepted into the best college.
Their parents, teachers, family and friends are all commenting with compliments, praise, and messages of pride.
How do you feel…? Pleased…? Proud…? Jealous…? Resentful…?
Has it changed the way you feel about yourself… are you immediately comparing their achievement with what’s happening in your own life right now? Does their achievement somehow take something away from yours? You may experience something similar when you see someone who you think is more attractive, or more ‘together’ than you.
Let me stop you right there.
Comparison is a killer.
Comparison kills hopes, and dreams, it kills innovation, it kills futures, and destinies. Comparison can immobilise us to be incapable of moving forward and forgetting to celebrate the wins we have in our own lives.
You do have wins to celebrate.
You are enough to celebrate.
I have a cute heart-shaped chalk-board picture up on my wall which says ‘Believe,’ and when I see it it helps me to think through what I’m believing about myself in that moment. Am I going to choose to believe that I’m enough, I’m loved, and I’m strong, or will I give in to lies and nasty thoughts saying otherwise that don’t belong in my head?
These thoughts can affect people of all ages. Four months ago I moved from Essex to Scotland and for the first time in nearly 20 years find myself unemployed. I see on my news feeds loads of friends and acquaintances being successful at work, invited to join all sorts of exciting – and often public – events and initiatives. All the while I’m sitting alone in gloomy Scotland feeling forgotten! It would be so easy to allow that feeling of comparison in, for it to brew into jealousy which breeds resentment and bitterness instead of the healthy appreciation and delight that I know I should feel for them – that I want to feel for them.
Women especially seem to have been groomed toward competing against each other: I think part of that stems from our culture where top international companies held a designated space for just one female board member, or Hollywood films full of leading men and just one female supporting actress (usually a love interest – eye roll!). Therefore all the ladies in the office or casting room must fight for that one space. Thankfully this narrative is changing and we have more women than ever in top and prominent roles (I celebrate you Kamala Harris, AOC, Priti Patel!). Yet we still see it in the media when national treasures Princesses Kate and Meghan are constantly pitted against each other. Or Katy Perry’s beef with TayTay, Rihanna, and Lady Gaga were all enhanced – like there can only be one queen of pop. There are even thousands of sites on the internet which boast a ‘Who wore it better’ feature comparing people of completely different body type, shape, size, and colour to decide which is ‘more pleasing’ to the eye… it seems everywhere you look we’re encouraged to fight against each other. So I don’t blame you, or I, for that niggly feeling in the bottom of our stomach when we see someone else succeeding where we only wish that we could. But I do blame us if we allow it to stay there unchecked. Because, girl, when we stick together, when we cheer each other on we’re stronger; we’re empowered to be our best self.
We’re powerful when we choose to view other people’s success as inspiration: used wisely it can give the motivation, encouragement, and incentive to guide and help us reach our own potential. ‘If she can do it… so can I’ is an amazingly influential mantra.
Let’s be women and girls who choose to collaborate instead of compete, who want others to succeed, and who know that someone else’s success doesn’t take anything away from us, or make us a failure.
Be kind. Yes to others – but first to yourself… because you’re enough, you matter, and you’re valuable.
Photo by Priscilla du Preez