Women have been comparing themselves since the dawn of time… I have it on good authority from my nan (the clear number one resource for all facts.) But when does admiring another woman become unhealthy? And how do you cope with constant ideals of beauty that you just can’t attain?
Healthy crushes VS unhealthy obsessions
I am not ashamed to say that I have many a girl crush. For many a different reason. Yes, some girls I just look at and think ‘Oh my god how did you get your bum like that? I may just quit the gym now. Anyone want to buy 3 pairs of Nike leggings?‘ But I have other girl crushes too. On colleagues, who are so good at their job and un-flappable – the complete opposite to me who descends into a stress-induced tornado any time I miss a deadline; on lovely women I meet, whose kindness surprises me even in the hardest of situations; on organised women, who just have their shit together and make me feel like a scrambling toddler in comparison; on strong women, who would never be seen dead crying in a club toilet because their ex ‘said hello in a weird way.’
But I never want to BE these women. I aspire to have elements of their personality or character that I admire yes. Sometimes I really wish I had their make up bag too, but never would I want to completely trade in myself if I had the chance to BE them.
This is where, I believe, crushes can border on unhealthy. When they damage your own perceptions of yourself or effect your mood.
How to DEAL
#1 Is it really that important?
Number one thing I find that helps is to really position myself in the grand scheme of the universe. Bear with. Looking away from your issues or problems and thinking of the universe as a whole and your minute worries in comparison really makes you think, ‘does it matter that my butt isn’t huge if the ice caps are melting?‘ ‘Should I really be upset that I don’t have the job she has when Obama just did the world’s biggest handover for an orange octopus?’ No. You are more than your figure or wardrobe, and there are more important endeavours that we as a race should focus on as we enjoy this thing called ‘the human experience.’
#2 Remember how lucky you really are.
While your family may be a who’s who of crap or your friends are complete let downs who never respond to your witty banter in the group chat (shame on them) you are lucky. If only for that the fact that you have been blessed with the privilege of growing old and living out your life for the foreseeable future. You have basic levels of freedom, something not everyone in this world does. And you have a brain, to do with whatever you please. Make a difference with that if all else fails. Your bum may not get its own Instagram following, but your voice could help one, two or millions of people. See, lucky!
#3 Focus on your good points.
‘Ahhh I have no good points. I look like a potato and I hate my life.’ I hear you, I too look like a spud from time to time. But everyone has good points and sometimes they are more valuable than the length of your eyelashes or the shiny-ness of your hair. Work ethic; emotional intelligence; empathy; humour… all these things can be utilised to improve your life. Whether you further your career with your work ethic, whether your empathy enables you to become an amazing mother, whether your humour improves the day of people around you. You do have good points. Everyone does. And if you work on them, like witchcraft, other great aspects of yourself you didn’t even know existed tend to develop.
#4 Work on yourself.
Use that amazing woman at work as a source of inspiration, rather than another tool to beat up your self esteem with. Don’t time yourself. You don’t have to be amazing in one day. Rather than say ‘Im going to go to the gym tomorrow‘ say ‘I’m going to do one of these things every night, every day for a week so that on Monday I am organised enough to go to the gym.’ like so:
– Monday – Find a bag in back of wardrobe that will work as a gym bag.
– Tuesday – Pack said bag with suitable items for gym on Monday.
– Wednesday – Clean room so one doesn’t feel stressed from mess on floor.
– Thursday – Write blog post you’ve always wanted to write so you don’t feel like you’re wasting your life away at the gym.
– Friday – Paint nails.
– Saturday – Journey-planner route to gym. Screenshot route.
– Sunday – Relax and wonder if you really will go gym tomorrow.
That’s how easy it is! We live in a world of instant gratification but you don’t need to be so hard on yourself. You are your own beautiful person and working on yourself each and every day to be better is one of the best ways to invest your time and energy. You must give yourself a break and say well done to yourself for all your accomplishments. Don’t compare yourself to other women. They may have their gym routine down but maybe their friendships are a mess at the moment. Maybe she seems to have a perfect relationship with her boyfriend but struggles to talk to her mum. We all have assets and then bits that aren’t so good. But the great thing about women is if you talk to one, they usually love to tell you exactly how they got their eyeshadow to look that great.
Use other women as a source of inspo, as confidants when you’re feeling low and to lift you up when you’re feeling crap. After all, it could be worse. You could be a man.
IMAGE CREDIT> Nadine Ijewere