Competition: Comparing ourselves to other women

GC-woman

written by Sarah Colgate

Self Awareness

April 3, 2020

I don’t know about you but I have spent my life comparing myself to other women. Often it’s women I know but most of the time it’s random women on the street, at a function, or on tv.  In my mind, I build up this competition between myself and a total stranger based on how she looks, what she says, what job she has or the way she speaks. This is a very destructive past time I have had for decades. I can’t even remember when it started.

So now that I have had some time to reflect I am wondering why the hell do I do this? It seems to me it’s ingrained and more concerning is that I have unwittingly passed it on to my daughter. 

My eight year old has started comparing herself to other girls in her class. My hair is longer than Jasmines, my jazz kick isn’t as good as Ava’s, Chloe can run faster than me and it goes on. Is it an innocent observation? Somehow I don’t feel it is. It devastates me to think she is going to do this her whole life like I have. Thinking about the fact that  I handed this burden down to her makes me sad, she is too little, too perfect and too beautiful for this thought process.  I have tried to talk to her about everyone being the same on the inside with a different wrapper. It doesn’t make us better or worse, good or bad it’s just a wrapper. I was trying not to say “Mummy has compared herself to other women her whole life, it’s destructive and it’s stupid.” 

Comparing ourselves to other women

So why do we compare ourselves to others? And what do we compare ourselves on?

For me it’s age, weight, level of success, career and appearance. Of those things, yes I can lose weight and I need to. But I can’t change my age, I can’t change my level of success in the split second I am comparing myself and my appearance can be improved over time but right then no it can not. So, do I walk away as the winner or the loser in this situation? It depends on my mood, my level of self worth and the day that I have had as to whether I am victorious or not.

Just writing this makes me sound ridiculous. Do most women do this? Something tells me a large number do. Why? 

I do know it puts up a huge amount of roadblocks in our life and around our thinking of ourselves and our peers. It’s a behaviour we need to break and stop immediately for the benefit of our daughters and their daughters. 

Because we compare ourselves to the women around us or in our lives we look at them differently, we look at them as a competitor rather than a counterpart. She has better clothes, she is definitely skinnier than I am, the colour in her hair is so nice I wished mine looked like that, her business makes more money than mine, she is better connected than I am.  As you can probably see I am an expert at this. But what happens when we stop comparing ourselves and stop seeing the women in our lives as competitors?  Then we accept them for who they are and better yet accept ourselves for who we are.

Comparing ourselves to other women

As we remove the competition we open up our hearts and our minds to being ourselves, to being women. A beautiful thing happens, we connect with other women, we share our stories, our fears and our dreams. We make friends, we start supporting each other, we stop criticising each other and we build a bond. Individually Women can achieve anything, but together – wow. I don’t think I have ever seen a stronger group of people than a group of women who support each other. It is powerful, it is beautiful and it is what we are on this earth to do. 

So the next time you look at another woman and think, my hair is better, her shoes are better or whatever it is you do. STOP yourself and ask why am I doing this? Maybe refocus the thought process and say “Wow, I love your shoes they look great on you”. Imagine how different you would feel and imagine how different she would feel. 

Don’t put yourself through those endless comparisons. It’s time consuming, energy zapping and destructive all around. Instead replace those negative thoughts with thoughts of girl power, inspiration and connection. Your life will change forever, your relationships with other women will change forever and you will feel more powerful and able to achieve so much more with the support of your peers.

Comparing ourselves to other women

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