Comparison & Worthiness
I've written about the idea of comparing myself to others a lot. I've written it into the ground, in fact. Yet, in spite of that, here I am writing about it again.
My current, and ongoing, struggle revolves around comparing myself to others and letting that comparison determine my worthiness or my self-worth.
This is vain, but my whole life I've dreamed of being beautiful. And I don't just mean nice-looking or pretty, but drop dead, make people stop and stare, heart-stoppingly beautiful. I don't know why I've always wanted to be that, but I have since I was a little girl. I know in large part it's due to the media and how people (both men and women) are asked to perceive themselves, but it's also due to the fact that I personally put value in looks. I'm not proud of this, but there it is. I feel like if I'm not beautiful like that, then I'm worth very little.
If you're my friend on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, or Twitter, you know I post a lot of pictures of myself. You may even think I'm super vain and think I'm super full of myself because I post so many pictures of my face. In reality, I post those photos because I'm in a continual state of desperately seeking approval and affirmation. I take photo after photo until I find one I don't absolutely hate, then I edit it to remove any flaws that I can, then I post it and wait for someone to tell me that I am what I wish I was: beautiful.
Why don't I think I'm beautiful now? Because I'm constantly comparing the way I look to the way others look. I'm constantly comparing different features of my face, my hair, and my body to my friends, to celebrities, and to strangers and finding that I am lacking. I've learned to hide it better than I used to, and I even don't think about it as much as I used to (which was always), but it's still there, and I still do it.
I went on an amazing birthday trip (blog post to come soon) that my husband planned this past weekend. We did so many fun things and took so many pictures. And yet, when I looked at the pictures today, all I could think was, "I should have stayed behind the camera, because being in these photos nearly ruins them." I took photos of my brother and his girlfriend, and they both look so great. Then they took photos of my husband and me...My husband is so handsome, I feel like it's a shame that I had to ruin the other half of the picture with my face or my size (which is, again, ever-so-quickly increasing). I couldn't get past the fact that I looked bad in the pictures and just appreciate the fact that my amazing birthday surprise weekend was documented to look at later. All I can see is how the way I look really, really upsets me.
Generally I try to end these blog posts with something that turns the way I think around, and I want to do that now, but emotionally I'm in a place that just won't let me say the things I think I'm supposed to. So instead I'll end with this:
I don't like the way I look, and that makes me severely unhappy. I don't want to be vain; I don't want my self worth or my perceived worthiness to be based on the fact that I don't like the shape of my head, or the way face and hair and body look; I don't want to compare myself to the women around me and feel like crawling in a hole afterward; I don't want any of these things, but they're there. My solution? I don't know yet...I need to love myself for who I am, but I also need to learn to let go of this desire to be out of this world beautiful. I think I'll stay behind the camera for a while, instead of trying to get positive feedback by being in front of it. Maybe if I don't put my face out there, I won't have to feel less than worthy if I don't get the feedback I secretly want. Maybe I'll learn to appreciate the positive things about myself and forget about looks for a while. I know I'll never be beautiful like I want, and I have to learn to be OK with that.