Growing up, I struggled with comparing myself to others. I remember, at times, thinking to myself:
“I wish I was a talkative and extroverted person.”
“I wish I was beautiful and had flawless skin like her.”
“I wish I was happily married like her.”
“I wish my smile was as pretty as hers.”
When I was a junior in high school, I questioned my worth and myself. When I saw other girls my age at school, they had the prettiest clothes, backpacks, and shoes. They had cute boyfriends and received more likes on their Instagram and Facebook. I remember that I didn’t like myself and didn’t embrace who I was during that time. I didn’t feel pretty or have the cutest clothes, shoes or a boyfriend at school. I remember being in my theater rehearsal class, shedding a lot of tears because I felt like I was not good enough.
One of my good friends found me behind the stage that day and she gave me one of the warmest hugs I had ever received. I remember telling her:
“I don’t like myself.”
“I feel like I'm not good enough.”
“I don’t understand who I am.”
She dried my tears and I never forgot the comforting words she told me:
“You are good enough and you are loved and special.”
“Charlene, you need to learn to love yourself.”
Remembering these words always gives me a beautiful reminder that loving myself is as important as taking care of my physical and mental health.
Comparisons made me forget who I really am! My true friends have told me that my smile and my presence bring others joy and that my personality is unique and different from others. Comparisons also made me forget that I am a ray of sunshine to those who I met along this journey.
Comparisons have made me blind to who I am and what makes me unique.
When comparing yourself to others, it is easy to be blind of the unique and beautiful traits and abilities you have. They say, “Comparison is a thief of joy,” and it is true. When we compare ourselves to others, we lose sight of our worth and individuality.
Don’t let the world and the media take away your values, worth, and your individuality. Each of you has a different story to tell and every one of those stories is different and unique, just like YOU.
“You doubt your value. Don’t run from who you are.”
The Chronicles of Narnia has always been one of my favorite movies when I was a little girl. I remember that one scene where Lucy looked into the mirror and her reflection became an image of her older sister, Susan. In the midst of life’s circumstance, it is the mirror where Lucy has a confrontation with herself.
How many times do we look into life’s mirror looking for a new reflection, an image of who we are not?
Choosing to step into the false reality of the reflection in the mirror, Lucy becomes the image of Susan and then enters a world where Lucy never existed and they never found Narnia.
Breaking through the reality of Lucy’s choice, Aslan appears in the mirror to confront her with her decision. These words from Aslan stood out to me when he was speaking to Lucy. He said, “You doubt your value. Don’t run from who you are.” These words from Aslan gave me a wonderful reminder that I shouldn’t wish to be someone else that I am not. These words reminded me that I am loved, valued, and unique just the way I am. I do not need to be extroverted or flawless to be amazing and beautiful because I am already beautiful the way I am and YOU. ARE. TOO.
There are five things that have helped me avoid comparing myself to others:
Counting your blessings - Gratitude has given me the strength to find joy in life. When you count your blessings, you love and appreciate what you have in this season. I am personally grateful for my family, friends, my church leaders, mentors, my internship, my calling at church, and my UNLV’s Dean's Student Advisory Council. Realizing I have these amazing family and friends is what makes my life joyful right now.
Less scrolling, more living - If we can have a day where we can put our phone and social media down for a moment, we can realize how beautiful the world can be. Whenever I walk on campus in the morning, I always love the sounds of the birds chirping. Hearing them singing their songs always reminds me that life is full of wonderful things. Once a month, I would also schedule a one-week social media fast from Instagram and Facebook. I would go a week without scrolling. Not being on social media helped me realize that I don’t need to share everything that I do all the time. I learned to live in a realistic moment that I am living right now rather than focusing my eyes on the screen.
Celebrating your mini victories and others too :) Whether we accomplish something big or small, always celebrate your wins! Celebrating our tiny victories is one of the ways we can truly love ourselves. When you see your friends accomplish something too, don’t forget to cheer and celebrate for them as well!! Being happy for others can replace those thoughts of comparison.
Surrounding yourself with good people - I learned that when I surround myself with my good friends and mentors, I feel good about myself. Being around others who love the real you makes you feel that you are never alone and that there is someone who loves and accepts you the way you are.
Being kind to yourself - Loving yourself means also being good to yourself. Do something you love and enjoy. Don’t ever forget to love yourself the way you love others.
Mirror, Mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest of them all? YOU are!
Friend, the next time you look in the mirror, do not wish that you are someone else. Remember that you are valuable, loved, and you matter. Remember that relationship status, GPA, likes and comments, or numbers of followers does not define who you are. Be YOU because you are beautiful, worthy, and amazing just the way you are. Remember that.
About the Author
Charlene is currently an LYF marketing intern and is in her final year at UNLV studying Psychology and minoring in Couple and Family Therapy. She is currently involved a lot on campus and in her church. She is currently part of the UNLV’s Dean’s Student Advisory Council, 1st Generation Club, Psi Chi Honor Society, and Psychology Club. She is also a co-mentor for the UNLV Graduate Rebel Advantage Program. Charlene also devotes her time as Young Women’s specialist at her church where she gives guidance and support to young girls ages 12-18. In the future, she either wants to become a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist or School Psychologist where she hopes to continue to help others and break the stigma of mental health. In her free time, she loves spending time with her family, friends, and her goldendoodle named Winston. She is also a huge fan of Taylor Swift, loves to journal, and enjoys clothing and fashion.