As I was walking home from the gym – something I have been doing for the last 7 or so months now – I felt a sense of pride in myself. I have come a long way. I relished in the thought that not only have I made goals for myself but I met and exceeded them too. Thinking about it gave me a weird high.
However, those thoughts were quickly interrupted when I started to think about all the other girls who have shared their journeys to becoming healthier with me. In doing that, I began to compare my path with theirs and slowly started to feel like all I had done was not good enough.
“I’ll never look like her.”
“How come her arms are more toned than mine?”
“Man, her figure is coming out nicely, while I still look like a blob.”
In comparing myself, I then began to feel defeated and my sense of pride was gone. Not long after I found myself mentally putting other girls down in order to make myself feel better.
“Well it looks like she still has a few more kilos to go so I’m fine.”
“At least I’m not that big so it’s okay”
As hurtful as my thoughts were, it made me feel a bit better – but not for long.
If I ever found out that someone had said or thought similar things about me it would hurt deeply. How could someone I shared my story with, someone who I struggled with, someone who’s also going through what I am then go on to say or think those things about me? Aren’t we all in this together?
Likewise – just as I should have been supportive and happy for the women around me – shouldn’t we be supportive in all areas of life? I mean, aren’t we all really in it together? The ups and downs, the ins and outs? History itself even shows that we women have been subjected to enough – so why then do we need to inflict more unnecessary harshness on ourselves? Shouldn’t we be building each other up and celebrating the moments where you, she, they, we all make it to whatever point we have been reaching for?
Who says that in order for you to succeed someone else has to fail? Who says we both have to see eye to eye in order to believe in each other? Or that we all have to be going for different goals for me to root for you? There may come to a time where many of us will want the same position or object but still, that is no excuse for a fall out or fight.
Work your ass off for it and give it all you got – but don’t sacrifice your dignity and respect towards others. If you end up with the prize, great! If you don’t, great! Congratulate the victor and try your best for next time because in no circumstance and for no position should it ever be okay to lose yourself in a craze of jealousy that will ultimately do harm to another person.
The same can be said for women who aren’t even competing for the same thing. Women make up more than half of a 7 billion population, so it goes without saying that there are bound to be those who differ from you. Even so, is that any reason to build yourself up using their downfall? No, nor will it ever be. Learn to celebrate what we all have collectively: love and pride for each other. But also celebrate what we have individually: minds and thoughts of our own.
Remember, a flower does not compare itself to the others around it, it simply blooms. If we decide to follow the way of the flower, my, what a beautiful field we will make.
– image credit: Lizzie Guilbert