Comparing ourselves to others is a natural behaviour which originates from our innate desire to breed successfully.
This behaviour peaks in adolescence as we develop into sexual maturity. Sadly sexual maturity and brain maturity cannot develop simultaneously. It takes several more years for our brains to reach maturity, hence those embarrassing memories of awkward social and sexual encounters in our teens. The TV series The Inbetweeners perfectly demonstrates the desire to fit in and be accepted by our peers! It also demonstrates the lengths some people will go to to impress others and the sense of inadequacy we experience when faced with someone we consider to be superior.
I think it is fair to say that generally, as we grow in maturity, we become more settled with who we are, but that annoying habit of comparing to others continues; Especially when we are experiencing a crisis of confidence or navigating uncharted territory!
Unhelpfully sources for comparison are in abundance these days! Social media is almost like a permanent filter which only showcases what others want you to see. It can suck one into a downhill cycle of low self esteem and negative comparison. Filters/photoshop/diet pills/plastic surgery all obscure what a “normal” body looks like!
We almost forget how amazing our bodies are, the beauty of diversity and how fortunate we are to enjoy so many pleasures thanks to the wonderful gift we have been given, which is a beautiful, functional body. For those who’s body’s do not function fully, I appreciate that life throws up different challenges but, the point I am trying to make, is that comparing ourselves to others only detracts from what we do have!
We only seem to compare with those who we consider superior to ourselves and rarely compare ourselves with those who are less fortunate. Again, while this is natural it is not necessarily healthy. Maybe it’s time to turn our comparisons around! Instead of the usual. “I wish I was…..thinner, taller, richer,“ etc. we should celebrate what our bodies can do. I’m grateful I have arms to hug my kids, legs to run, ears to hear bird song, a nose to smell cut grass, a tongue to enjoy good food. When we appreciate what our body gives us it makes worrying about our cellulite seem a bit silly!
Equally don’t compare your 40 year old body to your 20 year old body! The chances are your body has served you well over those 20 years it cannot possibly look and feel the same! Mine has carried 2 babies and it shows! How we create human life still amazes me! I’m proud of my body for its achievements.
What you may need to consider however, is how you treat your body. The older we get the more care it needs. If, on reflection caring for your body is something you have neglected, ask yourself what changes you can make to keep your body and therefore your mind in ultimate condition. Don’t compare yourself to false visions of beauty or how you looked in your 20’s. Compare how you want to feel with how you feel now and ask yourself. “How can I look after my body better, so it will continue to serve me as it has done.” The beauty of our bodies are the life they give us x