I am that girl who manages to turn vacation into a stressfest.
I spent several weeks between the end of 2015 and the beginning of 2016 on the little perfect island of Grenada. While going back to back on beach days should’ve made me feel as blessed as Drake, I simply felt overwhelmed with anxiety about my body.
Day after day I sat on the beach with a gorgeous group of girls, with perfect waist-to-hip ratios and hair that curled up and slicked back perfectly when they emerged from the baby blue waters. So naturally, I spent most of the time doing the delicate dance of keeping my neck above water (lest I destroy my blowout) and my torso submerged beneath (lest my gut get to talking about how well I ate at dinner last night).
The last thing I was able to do was appreciate the island, because I was doing a full-blown envious comparison dance between myself and them.
This isn’t new to me and may not be to you either. It’s become intuitive for us to see another person’s work (or God given gifts) and jump into the awkward comparison dance. We try to keep our heads above water while suppressing everything we truly feel behind ridiculous lies: That person is way more successful. Better ass. Nicer lips. Way better business idea. Smart savings plan.
After admitting to myself how foolish I was for being so envious, I choose a more empowering emotion - admiration.
Here’s how and why you should consider changing your comparison dance to healthy admiration next time you find yourself doing it.
- Kill all of your self-judgment with a compliment. Comparison is all about self-judgment. “I’m not good enough,” is the refrain that plays in your head when you see someone doing better than you. And the underbelly of that thought is, “It’s making me feel so insecure.” So, what’s the most painstaking thing to do in the moment you feel like someone is doing better than you? Admit it! You don’t have to flat out say, “I feel so wack because you have an amazing ass and I just have this long back.” My method of doing it is to frame it in a compliment to the other person. As soon as you say to the next person, “Wow, you’re killing it in the career department,” you get an unexpected boost of confidence. Because it takes a confident person to boldly acknowledge the success of another. I personally believe this is especially true between women and women of color, because they don’t want us to be secure enough to love each other. Major key. Try it out.
- Consider your jealousy an invitation. Now that you’ve publicly complimented the person who initially made you feel not worthy, you may still be sitting there feeling super jealous. If you’re a Scorpio like me, you have a massive green envy bug dressed like Lil’ Kim living inside you (Cue: I’ma throw shade if I can’t get paid…). The bug is constantly out to derail your self-esteem. Fret not, you can reframe your jealousy as inner genius, saying “Hey, you can totally do/have/be that too, and that’s why you’re so triggered by this other person who already achieved it.” Could it be that you’re only jealous of someone’s gorgeous new blog or book deal because it’s something you know deep down you’re capable of having (if only you would just go for it)? Your jealousy is inviting you to consider what it is that you really want for yourself; and that person you’re comparing yourself to is only there to remind you of all you can have in your own life...
- if you try. Support is the reason we’re all here. We need each other to not only inspire us, but to help us achieve next-level greatness in our lives. So, ask that person who you now admire just how they got to where they are. Take notes, get tips, add them on Snapchat and pray they offer daily gems. One of the hardest things to do is to go from bitterly comparing yourself to someone to reaching out for support from that very same person. The good news is, I’ve tried it and now I have an awesome What’s App group of women from my beach trip to remind me to put down the fried chicken and head to the gym.