This article is taken from excerpts from chapter two of my book. That chapter is called The Spin Cycle, and quite a few people I know and love have told me that this is possibly their favourite chapter in the book. WOW. People have been picking favourites. That’s really crazy to hear. I invite you to stay connected as we endeavour to stop the spin cycle, kill comparison and all the other unhealthy places that we all find ourselves in.
If you have battled with comparison, and I think I speak for everyone when I say it’s hard to escape from it, please find comfort in Chapter 2. For more articles that address the reality of Pain, Comparison, Loneliness, Living in Pain stay on this journey with us. Thank you for all the love and support so far. It means the world.
I originally wrote the bulk of this article in February 2018. Back then my book was still cooking and now we have well and truly had the dinner party. No one has seen it until now. But it’s ready for your eyes now.
The Thousand Words You Don’t See – How Comparison Cripples.
The thoughts that are in this article have been rattling around in my head for weeks, maybe even months. I’ve been challenged by conversations I’ve had through the research stage of my book. I’ve also been disturbed by TV shows I’ve watched and the advertising campaigns I’ve deconstructed. For whatever reason, women seem to continue to battle one another. There is an attempt to slay character and slice and dice leaving one another for dead. All of this is done through the sword of comparison. Has life really become a long form version of Mean Girls? I understand the temptation to compare is alive and well. I also know that it’s a slippery slope and one that we can fall into very easily. Easier now with social media and our crazy notion that we compare our lowlights with others highlights.
Comparing Lowlights to Highlights
I’d like to remind everyone that the perfect selfie, food shot, holiday pose or decorated cake, bedroom shot is posted after much work. A selfie needs the perfect angle and usually consists of anywhere between 6-10 shots before one is chosen. The perfect food shot always has a clutter of other food items, measuring cups and spills pushed to the side. Holiday poses frequently have beautiful smiles that are covering up a fight that has happened in the lead up to the shot and the fight that will continue after posting the ‘perfect vacation’. And the decorated cake that looks like it comes from a magazine. Well, it’s usually posted after one cake has been tossed, sweat is trickling down your back and there is sugar everywhere.
Next time you decide to compare your life with a well-curated Instagram or Facebook post remind yourself that there is always more to a story. A picture does tell 1000 words but are those words seen in the image that has caught your attention? Think beyond what you see. I’m writing this because as a woman of 49, I’ve realised that at this age, we no longer look at anything in a comparison way.
Instead, we see beyond, and there is a depth of knowing that is rich and lasting. It’s something I would love to share with my younger friends because this is something that will not only set you free from the inevitable jungle of comparison but will save you years of hurt, frustration, anger and even depression.
How do we stop Comparison?
How is this done? I hate to say it but it’s very simple. It’s in the seeing beyond. It’s finding the 1000 words of the story that aren’t in the picture. Now, at 49 when I look at my girlfriends, I see courage. Because when I look at her, I see the woman who has walked through cancer, the loss of a child, the pain of a breakdown. I see strength because she has been tested. Life has thrown her some major challenges and she has stood. Bravery because she has turned her face towards pain and she has walked through it scared. Sometimes she’s felt alone and has held onto whatever hope she can muster. And, she made it. I see confidence because of the story of her life when reflected on tells tale after tale of how she has walked with confidence even without knowing.
I see scars. Whether they be scars of beauty, marks of a stretched tummy or backside that remain because of the life that she has carried. Maybe those scars are there due to the fluctuation in body size over the years. Whatever the case, we see beauty. The lines on her face tell me that she has laughed until her belly has hurt and she has cried until her bones have ached.
There is a statement that slips through our social feeds on a regular basis that says ‘Girls Compete, Women Empower‘. May we all become women who are willing and able to see beyond the filters that cloud our view and understanding of the imagery of life.