I wish someone would invent a talking mirror. It’d shower us with daily affirmations like Stuart Smalley does, reassuring us we are all “good enough, smart enough, and doggone it, people like us”. They’d be mandatory in every changing room and gym locker room across the country, and a percentage of profits would go to the NEDA (National Eating Disorder Association).
In my second week of morning workouts, I’m pretty used to the early wake up calls and gettin’ dolled up at the gym before work. As a former nude dancer, I have no issues with showering and changing in the ladies locker room. My body is no where near the shape it was in during my days on the pole, but I’m still cool blow drying my hair in my underwear with a multitude of women who are essentially strangers.
This is not to say I don’t compare.
I could be bent over working my hair dryer, or leaning in to the mirror applying mascara, but it never fails; every time I’m in the ladies locker room with other women, I find myself catching glimpses of their bodies. There’s nothing sexual about it – nothing lewd or lascivious at all. I don’t even recognize I do it until I catch myself, and quickly move my eyes to the floor with the hopes that I wasn’t discovered. So why do I do this? Simple. I’m subconsciously comparing myself to others. And something tells me I’m not alone.
Whether you’re competitive by nature, or simply unaffected by others’ success, we’ve all compared ourselves to others at one point in our lives. It’s human nature, like returning a stranger’s smile. The big difference with smiling and comparing is that when we compare ourselves to others, we get caught up with self-criticism.
When I was a stripper, the dressing room was a veritable breeding ground for comparison and self-judgment. You couldn’t swing a garter belt without hitting a naked centerfold-type body, and no matter how we sliced it, self assessment came with the territory. Aside from the fact we chose a profession that fed off the idea that validation (a cash tip) for appearance (naked body), was normal, we weren’t different than most people who compare.
Getting back to my talking mirror idea and self affirmations, I propose a thought: every time we find ourselves in comparison mode, we are to stop and remember – “THERE IS ONLY ONE ME”. Let’s check our egos at the door, and look at ourselves with new eyes. Think about how absurd it is to compare anything about us to anyone else but us. There is no comparison.
Beauty comes in all forms, shapes, heights and widths. Instead of sizing yourself up based on someone else’s reality, throw away your mental measuring tape and remember – you are amazing – just as you are.
“Always be a first rate version of yourself instead of a second rate version of someone else.” – Judy Garland