A Life Lived in Comparison

Comparison is an act of violence against the self.

~Iyanla Vanzant

Drooping FlowerI know a girl, let’s call her Stacy, who is the most graceful, beautiful creature I’ve ever seen. She’s always decked out in upscale (and likely expensive) clothes, and can pull off any look flawlessly. Over the years I’ve known her, I have learned one thing: I am not a Stacy.

I’ve tried to be a Stacy, but on a budget, by buying similar designer clothes at thrift stores, and even by going to (gasp!) malls to purchase outfits. One of my closest friends and I drool over her style choices and always ask ourselves “would she wear this?” before making the final decision on a piece of clothing. We’re living in comparison to this girl.

But then a funny thing happened. I realized that I wasn’t nearly as comfortable when I dressed like her, when I tried to act like her, and when I tried to do my makeup as well as she does hers. I realized, and you probably knew this was coming, but I realized that the more I acted like her, the more I became a fraud. I’m not poised. I’m not elegant. I’m more of a comfort-first, pink-and-sparkles kind of person. Think DJ Tanner versus Kimmy Gibbler, and I’m Kimmy.

So, my question for you today is: are you living your life in comparison to someone or some ideal?

And that’s not all. Occasional comparison is okay, in fact, it seems inevitable. But when you do compare yourself to another, are you comparing yourself to someone you’d like to be more like? Or is it someone that you can’t see yourself becoming?

I think that learning to live your life independently of what others are doing is an essential skill especially for those of us who “live” online. There’s always going to be someone more stylish than us, wealthier than us, better at blogging than us, and it’s up to us to decide how we react to that. Here’s a hint: don’t live in someone’s digital shadow.

So, to remedy my issue with comparison, I’ve been starting to compare myself to what I want to be instead of the person I’d most like to emulate. If I catch myself wasting time on Facebook or lazing about when there are things to be done, I ask myself, “would my ideal self do this? What would she do instead?” Write. Exercise. Meditate.

Challenge yourself to stop comparing yourselves to strangers, acquaintances, coworkers, and start using these comparisons to get to the bottom of what you really want out of life. Is it really fancier clothes?


2 thoughts on “A Life Lived in Comparison

  1. Hey. Kimmy rocks πŸ˜‰ but I know your feeling… I think we all have people we admire and try to aspire to (I know I do… ). And that by itself is not wrong, but we shouldn’t let our self-worth be dependent on the dream future image of ourselves that we always aspire to but might not reach…. I try to remind myself of that, but it can be hard at times πŸ™‚ I makes me think of that quote from Eat Pray Love: ‘God dwells within you, as you.’ Not as that other woman we are trying to be πŸ™‚ thanks for such a beautiful post!

    • Thanks Nienke!! It’s hard to find the line between admiration and vicarious living sometimes. We can aspire to be like someone, but once it reaches a certain point it becomes unhealthy. Thanks for sharing the quote, I had forgotten about it! It’s beautiful. Thanks for reading πŸ™‚

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